The RMCl is one of many defensive structures on the soutth coast built to deter the French from invading and which was never put to use in its primary purpose. Started in October 1804, it was beset by problems with the first engineer, John Rennie and other contractors sacked. By the time it was completed, overseen by the military, there was no longer any threat from Napoleon. Even as a canal the RMC was of limited use and it never really paid for itself, despite various measures to try and raise tolls on it. It was eventually sold off to various private and legal bodies including the Lords of Romney Marsh and Hythe local authority. It still serves useful purposes today, however, used in summer to provide water to the surrounding farmland and used in winter to drain the marshes and help to prevent flooding.
We started along the front of the cliffs intending to continue on the beach before we realised that we needed to go up to pass an area of rocks. Once we had finished the climb up to the top, we were glad we had done so because despite the slight overcast to the sky we had some really nice views up and down the coast, out and over Fairlight Cove. We were also pleasantly surprised to find it very green and verdant with heavy shrub growth along the cliff top.
That was the last of the good news. From the top of the cliff we dropped down in to Fairlight Glen and Hastings Country Park where we completely lost our way when the directional signs disappeared and the path we were on was closed off, due we think to erosion. With paths going in a number of different directions it was difficult at times to determine where exactly we were headed, particularly when the path cut back on itself. Eventually we were pushed back uphill to eventually come out of the park and on to the 1066 Country Walk by Shear Barn Farm, from where we made our way down through Old Town and eventually on to the promenade at Hastings. The 1066 route, as you might have guessed, is based on the route taken by William the Conqueror on his way to the Battle of Hastings.
This section of the walk was completed on the beach when we could and on the pavement when the sand disappeared and we tired of walking on shingle. Now and again we came across nice little sections of wild flower on the shingle and some of the views in the gloaming had lovely light and shade. We were intrigued by the small group of Tai Chi adherents practising on the shingle and if there had been time I think my wife would have joined them.
It had been a very long day and it was with some relief that we arrived at our accommodation for the night at near eight of the clock. Fortunately, it was not too far away from the seafront. After spending some time speaking to our host for the night, I was able to get away to buy some fish and chips for our dinner. We were not long up after we had fed, just long enough to shower and set up our clothing and equipment to dry out and then sank wearily to the bed.