Following an early start, we each rode in to meet at London St Pancras station for the train to Canterbury. From there we rode the short journey north to Whitstable on the coast: famous for English oysters and seafood which have been collected since on the estuary since Roman times. The idea was to retrace the journey of the Canterbury folk back in the 1830s who took the steam locomotive to the seaside in the 1830’s; riding the ‘Crab and Winkle Way’ – a cycle route along the old railway line between Canterbury and Whitstable – before tasting some Native Whitstable oysters in one of the seafront establishments, and then sourcing some of their own seafood and cooking on the beach in the evening.
Arriving at Whitstable Harbour, the westerly winds were howling: whipping up the waves into a whitewater frenzy and creating a deafening noise at the harbour-side as ropes smacked and clanged the maze of ship masts. We sought refuge for an hour or so at the Whitstable Oyster Co, in the renovated former Royal Native Oyster store building on the board-walked seafront, where we tried some of their Native oysters and hatched a plan to head back to the Harbour fishmongers for our seafood dinner: scallops, lemon and parsley.
It was blowing a serious gale most of the afternoon, so we continued exploring the old smuggler’s alleyways and the seafront, before pitching up behind one of the groynes on the beach, lighting the fire and filling our foil packs ready for the embers; 5 minutes and they were done. Delicious. The beers from Whitstable Brewery helped washed them down.
Thankfully, whilst it got colder, the adverse weather ceased once the sun had gone down and left us in peace…