I met up with friends in one of the car parks, a grassy field close to beach huts in the morning at low tide. The Strood, the road leading to Mersea Islands across the marshes is covered with sea water during high tide for about half an hour. Markers at the side of the road mark the depth of the water. A friend told me about the annual sailing regatta, a race around the island and sailors have to either carry their boats across the road and wade through mud, or put the boats on trailers to take them across the road. We walked in the opposite direction to the way I’d walked several months ago, towards the boat houses on the mud flats and circling back when we realised we couldn’t cross the deep mud, back to a boardwalk leading to a path. We saw an oyster bed, like a small swimming pool near wooden shacks, a seafood restaurant, past a row of beautiful wooden houses, and out of West Mersea, the large village where most of the inhabitants of the island live. Away from the buildings we sat down near fields and mudflats to drink water and eat some fruit. In the distance we could see cars driving across the Strood.
For a short distance we had to walk on the B1025, which felt unsafe, hopping on to the grass verge when cars came towards us. This was the only unpleasant part of the walk, near The Strood. We were soon able to turn off, safely in fields, and a black Labrador was swimming in a ditch.
We walked past Maydays Marsh, Reeves Marsh Looking towards the Pyefleet channel where yachts were racing and sat on the sandy beach to eat our packed lunches.
We were much closer to Brightlingsea on the mainland, and close to my favourite part of Mersea Island. Just around the corner there was a sign warning about snakes.
It started to pour with rain just before we reached the broken sea defences, which we skirted around. After walking on the beach, looking at empty oyster shells, we had almost completed our walk and were near the beautiful, pastel coloured beach huts.
There was one final surprise, just before the carpark, beautiful agapanthus and red hot poker flowers growing near some beach huts.