Muddy Boots but a ‘Seal’ of Approval

Sunday and with sun forecast all day we could get a walk in.  It’s been a bit wet of late so we haven’t had a chance for a couple of weeks.  As everyone enjoyed my last choice I was tasked with picking another so I settled on an old ‘stomping ground’ Horsey.

Horsey drainage mill

We started at Horsey Mill.  This drainage pump is the best preserved of these iconic Norfolk sights.  It is in the hands of the National Trust and a couple of years back was given a new cap and sails.  Then we crossed the very soggy marshes to the coast.  For several miles on this stretch is an extensive dune system and this sand and marram grass is all that keeps the sometimes volatile North Sea from flooding the low lying freshwater Broads network.  The last time the defences were breached was the terrible surge of 1953 which claimed many lives on the east coast and Continent.

And relax!

A big attraction on the beach here are the Grey Seals that from November come ashore to give birth.  The area is cordoned off and has a lot of voluntary wardens on duty to stop idiots trying to get close.  There were hundreds of people there so we only gave it a few minutes just to get some shots.

This seal pup must have heard a great joke!

The seals are ungainly on land but pretty nimble in the water.  They are not my most favourite mammal but the pups are quite cute. 

“Am I cute?”

Leaving the madding crowd far behind we headed across some fields to a raised drainage ditch bank.  This led us to the ruins of Brograve wind pump.  On the way was a small herd of ‘winter swans’ mostly Bewicks but a couple of larger Whoopers as well.  Unfortunately too distant for any decent shots.

Brograve pump

There are many fascinating tales linked to this mill.  It was said the devil chased the landowner here and beat on the door leaving hoof marks.  Annoyed at the marshes being drained the devil was said to have tried to blow the mill down, hence the angle of lean (which is actually subsidence, sorry to be a spoilsport).  The drainage is now taken care of by a less romantic electric pump.

Mute Swans in winter light



After six miles we arrived back at Horsey by dusk.  Despite the last stretch of narrow path leaving our boots caked in mud all agreed it was a great day out.

Mrs H and myself wish everyone as happy a holiday period as possible in this difficult year.  Keep safe and we will see you  all again in ’21.



32 thoughts on “Muddy Boots but a ‘Seal’ of Approval

  1. The legend is cool even if only a myth and so is the old ruined windmill.

    The seals are gorgeous and the pup is delightful! Thanks for sharing your walk and hey, my boots aren’t muddy afterward! 😀🎄 Merry Christmas to you, Mrs. H, and all those you love, Brian!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Brian,
    I was happy to accompany you on your hike. Although the paths were also difficult to walk, it was a very interesting tour for me. The ruins of the old windmill are a wonderful photo motif. People often think of flour or oil when looking at a mill, while most mills have been used to drain bogs or protect land from flooding. Most mills in northern Germany and Holland had the same purpose. Even today, such mills can still be seen in the north of Holland, which are often still in operation.
    I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year.
    Greeting Werner

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Werner. Yes people do think of mills as producers of flour and we do still have these in my part of the UK, some still operate for that purpose.
      The drainage mills are no longer used. Most are ruins with the mechanism removed, some are being renovated for historical purpose. Drainage of marshland is now done by electric automatic pumps.
      Have a safe holiday period and new year. B.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely way to end ’20 and set the stage for ’21. Now Seals we have to travel for and I have not had the opportunity to see any real wild ones for some time – used to see them in the San Francisco area when I would have work conferences out there. Do not know much about your Seal variety, but the adult specimen you have looks larger than ours. Common between us is the fact those pups are as cute as can be (guessing Penguins disagree ha). Have a wonderful holiday B. and, of course, best holiday wishes to your family as well. Cheers to a better ’21!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings of the season B&L hope you stay warm and safe.
      The start of ’21 is looking a bit grim. As of the 26th my county Norfolk has been put in the top tier of covid restrictions. All we are allowed to do is meet one person outside. nearly everywhere is again closed and travel forbidden except for work and essential shopping. What fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed your post, Brian! I even feel like my boots are caked with mud, virtually speaking.

    It would be great to view the seals, but couldn’t put up with a crowd for too long. I’m basically an “anti-social” person. The landscapes with the mills are really wonderful!

    Are you sure the devil didn’t cause the subsidence? (My geologist son is rolling his eyes about now.)

    A New Year is almost upon us!

    Here in the colonies we’re not certain who our “fearless leader” will be in a couple of weeks while Great Britain may be becoming Great Britain once again.

    Here’s hoping the best for us all!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. That last mile was a bit slippery luckily we all kept our feet.
      So glad you like these images and I agree on the ‘hordes’ watching seals, not my thing either. Social distancing was ‘out the window’. Didn’t feel comfortable so relieved when we were far away.
      Yes 2021. Great Britain regains her sovereignty, things may be bumpy for awhile but the future looks brighter (unless you’re Scottish).

      Liked by 2 people

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