john and lauren sitting on the quayside with crabbing lines in hand

How to go crabbing

We always have a laugh when we hit the seaside for a spot of crabbing and John is particularly good at it. Want to give it a go? Look no further for a few helpful tips!

A crab held up to the camera, pincers at the ready!
This little crab was feeling quite defensive, but if you hold it by it’s sides or behind, it can’t get you.

Where can you do it?

Wells-next-the-sea in Norfolk is our favourite spot, but nearby Blakeney and the famous Cromer are also good options. There’s also Walberswick in Suffolk and spots in Devon and Cornwall too. A quick google should point you in the right direction.

What do you need?

Most places you can go crabbing will cheaply sell you the stuff you need to go crabbing, but a little bit of preparation can make it even better.

You will need: A bucket, a line and some bait.

The stuff for sale near the coast is usually cheap, but it’s also quite poorly made. We’re really keen to keep plastic out of the sea so we opt to bring our own metal bucket (cost £7.50 and should last a lifetime) but any strong bucket should do. We also make our own lines out of cheap paracord. 8m should be more than enough for most places except perhaps piers. Tie a weight on the end or maybe a collection of large washers and a loop to fix your bait and jobs a goodun’. It’s also a lot nicer on the hands than the usual line.

Wells Harbour also hire similar kit for a couple of quid during the summer, and if you have bought kit you no longer want, they’ll make sure it’s used again.

Bait is easy to aquire at the coast, bacon and bits of fish are all easy to aquire locally and is usually sold as crab bait.

John dangling a crab attached to his bacon over the metal bucket. Daisy, his guide dog, is sunbathing in the background.
He got one! Here you can see our paracord line with a weight. We just hook the bacon through a knot in the line.

How do you do it?

It’s easy. Attach some bait, drop your line in and wait. The challenge is bringing the crabs up to the top without them dropping back into the sea and is all part of the fun.

Crabs need some seawater to hang out in and don’t like to be overcrowded too much. Better to put them back in and start over more regularly keep the crabs happy. You might find you catch the same ones again if they were happy customers. We usually do.

Being awesome at crabbing is easy. Keep plastic out of the sea and keep the crabs happy and healthy. If you were looking for tips on catching lots of crabs, you’ll have to hunt down John and ask him!

John looking into a bucket
John is very happy with his catch!

Take a look at the video from our recent crabbing trip in Wells.

Our Journey along the Norfolk Coast Path

Day 1:

The Norfolk Coast Path stretches 84 miles from Hunstanton to Hopton (which can be extended a further 46 miles by linking it up with the Peddars Way).

We left home at just after 9.30am and were dropped off in Hunstanton at around 11am. Our mission for the day was to reach Burnham Overbury Staithe, where we would camp in the dunes (18miles).

We felt fresh for the first 5 or so miles and enjoyed seeing (well, at least Lauren did) the wintering birds that visit the area during the colder months.

10 miles in and we knew about the packs on our backs. They weighed around 12kg each and we were also beginning to feel hotspots on our feet. We took a look and each of us had blisters – no problem we thought, we have blister plasters! We patched ourselves up and continued our journey through Holme Dunes, Brancaster and Burnham Deepdale. It was stunning!

A coastal creek full of little boats and mud

15 miles in and the feet were starting to getting sore and light was fading. We pushed on in the dark until we reached the dunes. We kept seeing odd looking people in camo with guns. One of which shouted something and all we heard was light and windmill. We decided to wear a light until we found a windmill so we wouldn’t get shot. We presume they were hunting but it was quite disconcerting.

We knew stopping early was no longer and option with the hunt taking place so we kept moving. Once we reached the dunes, exhausted, we set up camp, cooked some noodles and headed into bed. After about 45 mins of setting up beds, finding and losing things it was around 8pm and time for bed.

“Night John”

“Night Lauren”

[A few seconds of quiet]

“John, can you hear that?”

“is it a boat?”

“I’m not sure, maybe a motor bike”

“It’s a helicopter”

The low rumbling sound started quietly in the distance, but soon sounded much much closer. We were not quite sure what it was, perhaps a dirt bike playing in the dunes? The fear was it would come up over the top and squish us and our tent but it got louder still.

“IT’S DEFINETLEY A HELIPCOPTER”

“YES, IT MUST BE RIGHT ABOVE US”

We’re sure it was low and close, but we never saw it. Around 20min passed and we settled back down for a restless nights sleep.

Our campsite for the night

Day 2

The mission for the day was to reach Cley-Next-The-Sea which was another 18miles. The plan was to leave early and hit Wells-Next-The-Sea in time for breakfast at our favourite bakery. We left at around 7am and walked along the quiet beach which was littered with thousands of shells and had a colony Oystercatchers on a sand bank. The route took us through the Holkham Estate and we reached Wells at around 10.30am.

Holkham

We made use of the facilities, topped up our waterbottles and gave our sore feet a bit of rest before heading into town for our breakfast. We stocked up on some cakes for the day ahead and sat by the quay with a hot drink and sandwich. We decided to take the boots off for a bit and to check in on our feet which is when we discovered that John’s feet had started to blister in several places including between the toes.

The next conversation was a tough one. We never doubted our ability to continue blisters or no blisters, but we knew that doing so would likely end up in damage that would take several weeks to recover. We did the sensible thing and stopped, we waited by the quay and had a different adventure: Getting a bus home! It took around 3 hours in all and we even had time to make a hot chocolate between bus changes.

The bit in-between

This was our first attempt of a long distance walk. We knew we could finish it but it was a case of how! We did a bit of research while recovering at Lauren’s home. Toe socks looked like they’d sort John’s weird toe blister issues so we ordered a pair of liners (ininiji) and looked at taking some of the weight off our feet.

We swapped the tent for a tarp and bivvy bags, used smaller, lighter backpacks, left the waterproofs at home, switched to a lighter stove set (still alcohol based from speedster stoves) and took less food with us. Our decision to head out again was a last minute one and was only to be for 1 night, unless things went much better than before.  Our new packs weighed around 6-7kg with water.

Day 3

We hopped on a train at 11.30 from our home village and headed out towards Sheringham. There were lots of waits between connections which gave us time to eat and supply but it meant arriving back at wells at 4.30pm. We walked for a couple of hours before reaching a less-than-ideal camp spot but it did the trick. Couscous was on the menu along with a hot chocolate.

It was a cold night, down to around -3/4 and we struggled to stay on top of our sleeping mats because of the uneven ground.

Day 4

Despite the poor nights sleep, we woke up feeling quite refreshed. We were on the move by 6.45am and it was still dark. The hard frost helped with the mud and walking was quite easy going. We reached Moston for a beautiful sunrise and Cley-Next-The-Sea for around 10.30am where we found a bench and dried out some of our kit including the what-was-frozen tarp. There were lots of people around enjoying the sunny day and wildlife.

Blakeney – an old wooden boat

From here, we had to walk miles along the shingle beach. It was particularly tough going on the legs – if you can do this bit at low tide it would probably make life easier, but we persevered and stopped for a lunch at around 2pm, where we aired out our sleeping bags and grabbed some more couscous.

From here we were able to move up on to the cliffs toward Sheringham where we met some nice people that offered to see if we could stop where they were staying, perhaps we should have accepted, but we didn’t and kept walking on into Sheringham town for a resupply and then decided to keep going.

The end of the shingle beach

We were between Sheringham and Cromer when we found our overnight spot. We had covered another 18miles and our legs were tired but we were blister free.  We ate Couscous again despite being fed up of it. Again, not a great night’s sleep and it was pretty breezy.

Day 5

We woke up feeling quite good, the feet had recovered well. We set off early and soon reached cromer where we supplied once more from a local bakery and Co-op. It was incredibly windy, so we stayed off the beaches and kept to the clifftops as much as possible but this did bite us on the bum at Bacton. Already tired, we discovered the path had given away to erosion near the large gas terminal and was impassable. This resulted in a highly unwelcome 3km detour. This affected moral pretty badly as were were already flagging slightly, but it was to be the least of our troubles.

Walking along the clifftops

We discovered that despite covering the distance according to Strava, it just wasn’t translating into progress along the route. We were many miles behind and had a long way to go to reach Winterton, our planned overnight stop for the night. We knew we could stop short, but we wanted to finish the entire route but we had cut-off point. Not reaching Winterton would have put completion into jeopardy.

A sign which reads “coastal path (please keep away from the crumbling edge)

We’d already walked 38km and we calculated we still had around 12km to reach Winterton. We were tired, hungry, it was getting dark and we were pretty demoralised. We grabbed a sausage roll from our bags while we took a quick break and then it started to rain.

We considered our options and decided to push forwards. The remaining 12km was painful on the feet (but still blister free) and we had to take many stops.

We reached our overnight stop in the dunes and set up the tarp, it was windy, but it held up ok. Despite having the the tarp flapping on our faces most of the night, it was one of the better nights sleep.

Day 6

We woke up knowing we only had 15 miles to the finish and we were determined to make it. The tide was low which meant we made excellent progress along the hard sand, at least until a freak wave came up a little too far up shore giving John a wet foot! Oops.

An icecream does wonders for moral

We saw a couple of seals in the sea here and lots of evidence of coastal erosion.

We reached Great Yarmouth by midday and stopped for some chips in the town.

5-Miles to go. The tarmac by the quay battered our feet and as soon as we could walk on sand, we did. The last 5 miles was tough, but we made it, opting for the cliffs again because of the rising tide.

The Norfolk Coast Path sign points to the edge of the cliff

We reached Hopton at around 2pm and grabbed a beer from the co-op while waiting for our lift to arrive!

We enjoyed the walk, but it was very much type 2 fun! For us, lighter packs made all the difference so we’ll try and keep to this ethic in the future. We would have liked more time to enjoy the experience. Less time pressure and we may have taken up that offer of accommodation, or stopped off for ‘soup and a pud’ but we had to remain focussed on our destination.

A Norfolk Coast Path sign

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