I couldn’t find Great Yarmouth this morning although I was in it. No I wasn’t drunk from the night before, unlike some…
It was Foggy, Sea Misty, basically I couldn’t sea / see, so I decided to head inland. Initially across the fens and then turn in when I got bored of the flatness…. The fens are beautiful but a bit monotonous. If you are a bird or a bird watcher… or maybe a farmer or someone that doesn’t like undulating hills the fens are nice but I got bored. Sorry but I told you I would. So I turned right at Walsham and headed for Mundesley and the sea.
What was clear about Norfolk, was that even in lockdown, things seemed to happen a little slower. Life I mean…not that many motorists seemed to care about my life of their their own in fact.
The driving around here was not slow and the risks drivers take to overtake me on a corner into a 30mph zone or a blind summit amazes me. It baffles me.
Blacked out land rovers. I think those were the Kensington lot, and mainly Nissans driven by old people. How can you tell they are old I hear you ask. Ahaha… two things, glasses and Panama hats in the back window. I see you all nodding.
Once i hit the coast the hills came. Ok these are not Yorkshire or Lake District hills, more like south coast of England hills so not so bad. Anyway where was I. Mundesley. Lots of military things here relating to the wars which was nice to read.
I liked this one I hadn’t heard before:
One does not mourn brave men, one salutes them. A.H.Wood 1953
I liked the idea of each individual name. Brave men from Mundesley that were individually carved into the cliff railings. There are many hero’s and brave people around now too aren’t there? Let’s salute them, all of the time, not just when they are a memory. That wouldn’t be that hard to do would it? We all have people in our lives like this.
Cromer is as a bit of a disappointment for me today. It had been hailed as the jewel of the fens. I didn’t see that today but it was impressive how the expansive Sandy beach and town were joined up despite the huge cliff the town lived on.
Lots of golf courses here too dad
As I went on beaches turned to marshland and Salthouse and Blakeney are great examples. Vast Serengeti’s full of chirpers, twitchers and other curious creatures like Murches…
Out coast comes in so many forms doesn’t it and that’s what makes our coastline so beautiful. 50 miles done today and a chance to do it all again tomorrow…
It’s funny how.. no it’s not. It’s a nightmare when reality comes along and gives us a kick in the teeth isn’t it?
After such a great day yesterday I was up early, ready to take on a great ride to Great Yarmouth where one of my grandmothers lived the late-life dream….playing penny slots in this fantasy dreamland of a place.
I remember as a child being a bit scared of Great Yarmouth but now an adult I felt …prepared.
My first stop was an old friends grave.
Annoyingly I didn’t find it…which I know would have cracked him up. He was a great man, life and soul of…any situation and died too young.
The road to Lowestoft is not good.
I quote: Assume both the Highways England roads in Norfolk, the A47 and A11 are optimised for killing cyclists. There are a few sections OK to ride….
I’d prefer not to end up like my old mate and with dodgy roads and icy weather I cycled 15 miles and jumped on a train… let’s call it another mulligan shall we?
So a bit of a random day so far and then I notice an 0345 number calling on my watch. That’s the Bank. Apparently they were concerned with my random locational spending and as a fraud prevention mechanism my card was frozen. The good news…from the bank…was now I had satisfied things with them my account would be active again within the 24 hours….Its great these processes are in place but I only have one card with me and the knock on affect was…cumbersome.
Anyway stop moaning James and get cycling. Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth was about another 15miles or so and being right on the coastline was nice. Quiet roads and as ever beautiful sights.
Thankfully Jersey Granny had saved me arctic camping…and my spirits were lifted. Good friends always Granny, and you keep the jug…x
As with many eastern towns there are these damned rivers, estuaries and ports in my way. Gorleston-on-sea to Great Yarmouth is one of them. Of course it was…
The river Yare bulges inland then is syphoned out to sea by a man made funnel. It’s rather strange to look at on a map isn’t it? Well if I can’t go over it and I can’t go through it… I’ll have to go around it.
The south dock as it’s called is very industrial. No sandbanks, Dubai or Maldives type luxury has yet to be identified here… the North side is old Great Yarmouth and when you go round the corner to the sea from you have… I stand corrected, you had…the promenade extraordinaire.
What a miserable sight it was early evening tonight. Obviously lockdown has desecrated the sea front and with the added fog coming in,it resembled a ghost town. Hopefully better days are just around the corner.
Anyway another big ride tomorrow. Oh did I say I passed 2000 miles today. Anyway Blakeney and Norfolk’s Mayfair tomorrow. Fingers crossed anyway….
Difficult to know where to start and what NOT to include today as I have many teenage memories from being with a friend and his vast family in Aldeburgh, happy days.
My guide this morning showed me the scenic way out of Ipswich and I was quickly on country roads heading for Woodbridge and Melton. Amongst the golf courses were golf courses. Then I turned right to Orford.
I’d been to Orford a number of times but on a dinghy. I’d seen the castle from a distance. Ok it’s more a keep isn’t it. We’ve seen some proper castles haven’t we?
I hadn’t been to the bakery before. The bakery was… excellent.
The flapjack debate has ended but what about donut fillings?
For me custard every time. Thoughts? You lot are never shy to voice your opinion on such sweet matters. I’d love to hear
Golf courses turned bracken and pine filled parkland. The roads were light and it as nice to be going at a good pace. It’s nice and flat around here…
I arrived in Aldeburgh a beautiful seaside town. It was home to the composer Benjamin Britten and in 2003 artist Maggie Hambling paid tribute to with her Scallop sculpture.
Interestingly the scallop shell is the ancient symbol of pilgrimage. That’s sort of what I’m on.
The words pierced through the steel against the sky ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’ ring true for me in many ways
Aldeburgh has many many wonders to discover as does its sister, Thorpeness.
Thorpeness was a small fishing hamlet used more by smugglers than fishermen one hears but in 1900 a rich bloke called Ogilvie developed it into a ‘holiday village’ around the central country club and dug a shallow boating meare for messing about of boats.
The stone beach joining Thorpeness and Aldeburgh is pebble and littered with old fishing boats and little huts and smokeries selling the catch of the day… 35 miles done today and for you many things left to be explored when you visit Aldeburgh.
Great Yarmouth tomorrow and I’ll pass 2000 miles. Until then…
My route today took. My route today was meant to take…me from Colchester down the river Stour / estuary to Harwich. Then across to Felixstowe and onto Ipswich.
The Stour is not good for sun-worshipers and sandcastle designers but is a haven for naturists. No not that sort…bird watchers…oh you know what I mean, men dressed in camouflage with binoculars…
It was a nice day, not cold like yesterday but sharp enough to let me know that it’s not the best time for a UK cycle tour. The villages were… as I’d expected. I know that sounds disappointing which was not the case but they weren’t like yesterday’s villages in Essex. So let’s fast forward to Harwich because that’s where it gets interesting.
Dovercourt bay, in Harwich…and beach were lovely. Colourful beach huts and groynes galore yet no one under 50 was out parading themselves in this weather. Instead poochadoodles galore, all barking way above their weight at waves, other dogs and cyclists.
As I turned the corner along the sea wall wall two massive shipping tankers caught my eye… ok two massive shipping takers blocked out the horizon. Love of hate them they are incredible feats of engineering.
So my plan was to get the passenger ferry across to Felixstowe…
The ticket office was open…
“One man and his bike to Felixstowe please”. The lady honestly just stared at me. “This is the right place to buy a ticket isn’t it” I asked. Again the reply was not forthcoming… I smiled.
“Ferry sank” she said.
Aha, right, brilliant
Now I don’t mind a good bike ride. You already know that though don’t you, but I don’t really want to take the exact route back. Which was the only way, so I jumped on a train…
Now before I leave Harwich and / Felixstowe there is one other thing than perplexed me….The train was called the Mayflower and there were loads of posters and Mayflower material all around Harwich… Now I though the mayflower sailed from Plymouth to the new world – i.e. the Americas… so where does Felixstowe and Harwich fit in? I researched further. Google. Wiki…The mayflower definitely set sail from Plymouth (1620) and its passengers /
pilgrims, definitely set off from Plymouth too. Sadly only half returned but…Harwich is over 400 miles away… did the remaining pilgrims then walk to Harwich? I know the boat was scrapped in Plymouth. I can’t see why the boat would sail from Plymouth to Harwich then back to America…oh I don’t know… anyway all a bit pointless all that wasn’t it?
Right where am I? Back in Ipswich. It was still early so I extended by ride across the Orwell bridge. A bridge I know well from sailing in my youth in Aldeburgh. It was gruesome in the wind and there were stark reminders everywhere for people having trouble with life…
In all a good day. 35ish / 50ish miles and Aldeburgh tomorrow. I can’t wait
I had previously been worried about cycling through gangland Essex…The signs were everywhere, strange accents , white trainers, every home had a Range Rover in the drive but no one shot me and I’m nearly in Suffolk now, so fingers crossed.
I jest of course though there were a few ‘punchy’ Essex’s ladies that I’m sure definitely don’t like cyclists. “You should be on the (I think she said fracking) pavement”, I heard from one…
Essex. Ok the villages in Essex I went through this morning were beautiful. I really mean that. Essex do old and new well and I’ve become a real fan of the seaside timber type cladding / mix on homes throughout my journey. There was plenty of that here and it works.
Right back to my ride. It was a bloody cold start at 8am but the brilliant blue sky stood out proudly, whilst the crisp ground hid behind waves of cold mist. I’ve mentioned Christmas before…It felt Christmassy again out on my bike today.
Right back to reality James….I stopped at Downham to test out a pond I though might have iced over. It hadn’t, but I met lovely chap walking his lurcher and daughter or should it be daughter and lurcher. I don’t know. Anyway we got talking and I was let into the village secret garden. Just off the beaten track through a gate.. hang on I’m in Essex… can I trust this well dressed chap? I couldn’t see a baseball bat but his 3 year old daughter was acting a little sheepish…
I could…. WOW
Apparently on a clear day you can see the Dartford crossing nearly 30miles away. Even still I sat happily at this special essex window for a while, just smiling and content. I though about the stresses and strains our family have been through but that was in the past. I smiled as I replayed all the good times and cycled on.
Lunch was at Maldon. Maldon is on the black water and overlooks Osea Island which sits in an estuary.
Osea island is a privately owned by Nigel Frieda who works in the music industry. I think you can rent a cottage there for about £500-3000 per night if you are interested. I couldn’t find any information online about camping rates so I decided to leave it and cycle on…I wonder though how much they would charge for me to rent a two metre square on this 400 acre plot?
Through Langford, Totham, Tiptree and then to Colchester my destination for the night.
Wickham Bishops was another beautiful village I just had to stop at and will remember. The village is mentioned in the domesday book and I though to myself I could live here. I parked myself down and pulled up the Rightmove property app. YES… 18 properties for sale…
Take a look yourself… Put it this way I shan’t be living here in the short term…
So another great day. I met some lovely people. I saw some amazing homes. I continued to ponder my future-well just tomorrow, because that’s all we can really be sure about, and I covered a good 43 more miles on my amazing adventure
I was interested to hear that some people think I’m breaking the law by doing this ride. I have said before I do feel lucky and a little guilty to have this freedom at the moment.
I want to be clear that I have not been offered, or stayed in anyone’s house with them during lockdown 2. I have however stayed within their grounds. When I have done this we have not eaten, showered or slept together. In fact we have never been closer than at least 2 meters.
According to the governments website:
Quote – Cycling and being active is still strongly encouraged. However, we are suggesting following this guidance:
• Only ride alone, with those in your household/support bubble, or with one person from another household.
• We suggest you exercise locally wherever possible and avoid driving to another location to begin your ride.
• Stay two metres apart from anybody not from your household/support bubble.
• If you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating, are sharing a household /support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace, you should stay at home.
• There are no restrictions on how long or how often you can ride, however we recommend that you stay within your ability level and prepare accordingly, especially if you are riding alone.
• For essential journeys, the Government is encouraging people to cycle or walk where possible.
In addition there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t met and talked to at least one person that hasn’t enjoyed a nice, open and honest chat about life….i don’t think I’m breaking the law so for now I think I’ll just keep going….
It was an early start this morning. Sunday’s are the best days for us MAMIL’s to be out on the road, and dare I say. accepted on the roads. Well maybe everyone else is just in less of a rush.
The high street in shorditch on sea / Whitstable was dead. The odd middle aged man with his trendy cap on was wandering about searching for some inter-bread trendy loaf but that was about it.
I’d been listening to the radio this morning and the inspirational ex rugby player Doddie Wier who continues to fight and not give up on his Motor Neuron Disease. Of course it’s sad for anyone to have this incurable disease but for someone so fit, who has always had sport in his life, it must be even more or a challenge on his mental health. The positivity Doddie gave off across the airwaves shook me into action. My issues are nothing compared to many. Fire up James.
The coastal road through faversham, Sittingbourne to Gillingham was beautiful then….
I knew today was going to be logistically hard. Through Rochester, Chatham to Gravesend where I had planned to take the passenger ferry over into Essex.
Kent was bustling. I shouldn’t complain. It is great to see families out making the most of the weekends chilly sunshine, particularly during this difficult time. The UK is more resilient than I thought, or the snippets of doom that are reported on the news. Life is not so bad when we’ve got each other eh….
The reason the ride was proving hard was due to the Medway tunnel in Rochester-no cycles and the M2/A2 roads…and lack of choices / shear volume of traffic – Europe bound
Anyway I made it through. 43 miles today and heading for Colchester tomorrow. Good progress….
Short one today. Monday tomorrow and the start of a new week…