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Sandringham to Cromer

12 Jun

Day 61 – 12 June 2012.  71 Miles Travelled

Yesterday evening when the queue at the Village Fryer suggested that over 50% of the carvanners were participating in traditional Fish & Chips I had decided to treat myself to a homemade Steak and Ale pie with new potatoes and vegetables. After removing it from the oven I had surpassed my own expectations of what it might turn out like. It looked so good the only immediate course of action was to photograph it; quickly followed by the age old tradition of cutting a piece off ,adding some vegetables and gravy then sitting down with a cold drink and enjoying the achievement. Dividing the remainder of the pie into two containers I place them in the fridge for another couple of meals. With the washing up completed a chance to relax a little before going to bed for hopefully a good night’s sleep. The pie must have done some good as I slept for four hours without waking.

Rolands Steak & Ale pie

In the morning and examining the situation outside as I raise the blind slowly but not fully, Just enough to assess the weather as it appears. I find it a little overcast but with some optimism as the cloud appear to be quite thin. The forecast shows a brighter day than yesterday. I remain upbeat about it as I am sure things will pick up as the morning gets a foothold. I am a bit surprised at the absence of the usual dawn chorus greeting me with a variety of birds foraging for food. My bird feeder with fresh RSPB food has been bypassed completely. Perhaps the surrounding woods meet all the needs of the wildlife without having to venture further afield. Even the Rabbits who were out in force yesterday evening were conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps they had all heard of the impending garden party today at Sandringham house and had gathered elsewhere with higher expectations. I anticipate that today will only be a relatively short distance compared to many I have completed in one day with an estimated 40 miles plus any diversions I might make in the interests of exploration. It will give me the opportunity to seek out different towns and shores trying to find some more of those interesting landmarks we have around our coast line that I read about when doing the journey plan. A final tidy up, batten down the hatches and replenish water supplies I am ready for the day to begin.

As I was so close it seemed only right that I should drive the short distance to Sandringham House to have a look and take some pictures of the stately home. I drove along the road leading to Sandringham and then onto the estate to find all the roads lined with the most vivid purple flowers of the Rhododendron bushes and what an amazing sight that I might describe as live wallpaper with its own distinctive moving pattern for as far as the eye could see. Eventually I found the car park with signs to the house and although it could be reached by walking some parts were off limits due to a Garden party being held there today. Deciding that the walk was too far I drove back on to the estate road in the hope to get a good picture of Sandringham House. Unfortunately although I could see the house through the trees as I drove there was no clear view for me to get the picture I would have wanted. Not to be put off however I pass an area called the sculpture walk and spotting one close to the road I stop and get my photo opportunity on the estate.

Sandringham Sculpture

From here then I resume my journey to Hunstanton but I find that soon I am taking my first diversion of the day to call at the RSPB reserve at Snettisham. Reading the boards along the way there is clearly a lot to see here, but a serious element of walking would be involved. To reach the reserve I drive down long country lane towards the coast where the reserve stretches all around. There are many small lakes and ponds wherever you look with much birdlife taking advantage of the water and grassland. It is said that the coast around the reserve is where Norfolk stares at Lincolnshire across the Wash. I stop a couple of times in the lane to examine the area through the binoculars. It is at one of these stops that I spot some large birds in the grass that I did not recognize. I decide to take some photographs and soon decide that the Telephoto lens is needed to get any recognizable image. To set it up was going to take al little time and I hoped that the birds would stay and pose for me. Finally with everything ready I wait patiently to get a good unobstructed view. Suddenly something spooked them and I thought I had lost my chance when about six of them took flight. However they circled round where they were and I was able to follow them through the lens and got several pictures I was quite pleased with. So with usable images this will be your challenge for today. This is the best one and the bird is carrying something in its mouth as it flies around. So the question is what am I and do you know what I am carrying?

Do you know what I am and carrying in my beak?

Having spent the best part of an hour in pursuance of a good picture I rejoin the road and move on unhindered to Hunstanton.  Hunstanton is known locally as Sunny Hunny and today it lived up to its name with glorious weather. The original settlement here was Old Hunstanton a little further along the coast where there is an old unused Lighthouse and the ruins of St Edwards Chapel in front of it. (PIC Lighthouse) In 1848 the Royal Hotel was built overlooking the sea. I drove past it and today it is the Golden Lion pub. I did call in to Brancaster to try and see a shipwreck, the SS Vina, visible from the harbour. I asked a local fisherman if he could point it out for me. He showed me where it was but the tide was in and it was submerged.

The next place on this journey is Wells Next the sea. Here I found  the Wells harbour light railway, a 10.25 inch gauge line that stretches from the harbour  and takes passengers to the beach about 1 mile from the town. It is apparently the longest railway line of this gauge anywhere in the world.

10 1/4 inch Light Railway- Wells Harbour

Also at Wells is the Holkombe national nature reserve set in dense woodland consisting of different varieties of Pine tree that grow in the sand. There is a local delicacy in Wells of a fleshy plant called the Samphire or Glasswort that is found growing in the salt marshes. It is sold in the town during the summer.

Before reaching my final destination of the day near Cromer I call at Sheringham which is a small coastal town. Its history centre’s on fishing mainly but with some farming. The fishing relies mostly on Crabs and Lobsters, although some Whelking is carried out. At its peak the town had about 200 fishing vessels and today there are only eight operating.  Sheringham is believed to be the only place in the world to have four of its original lifeboats and there are plans to extend the museum in which to house them along with some Crab boats. In the old Lifeboat shed an old lifeboat powered by sails is being restored.

Setting the Satnav for the last time today will take me to the caravan site, Incleboro Fields in the village of West Runton just a short distance from Cromer, where I will call at tomorrow. In the 1990’s a fossil was discovered of and Elephant and after much excavation an almost complete skeleton was discovered. Archaeologist has been able to identify it as a Mammoth standing about 4 meters tall and weighing 10 tonnes.

The caravan site sits adjacent to a small golf course and high above the sea which it overlooks. The site is set in woodlands and spread out over a vast expanse. The road around the site is 1.5 miles long and as it climbs the land has been terraced to provide level pitches for the caravans. Many of the pitches have good views of the sea whilst others face inland toward the woodland. It is a tranquil site and despite its size it is a quiet place to stay.

The sea from Incleboro Caravan site

Tomorrow I will end my day at Lowestoft and on the journey there will be plenty of opportunities to travel close to the sea and finally in to Lowestoft.

I look forward to reporting on my next trip.

Roland

Skegness to Sandringham

11 Jun

Day 60 – 11 June 2012.  44 Miles Travelled

I was doing very well with the blog yesterday evening and the writing and typing were completed early. It was looking good for publication by 2230 with just the pictures left to do. The pictures were downloaded and the selection for the blog completed. A quick passage through the software to get them ready for publishing and all is doing well. After loading the first picture, the next thing I remember is waking about an hour later and no progress made. So unfortunately the power of sleep took control for a while, but I was determined to finish my work before submitting again.

A pretty good night’s sleep was to follow and I didn’t wake until 0530 this morning. It is a bit of a dull start and the indications are that it may well stay that way with rain to follow during the day.

My journey today is essentially to circumnavigate the Wash and to do this travelling close to the sea is not really possible. Gibralter Point where I went yesterday with Cheryll and Bob is the nearest I will get to the sea for many miles to come. However the roads I take will be the closest ones that are practical. There are small roads that lead to the sea and whilst some are linked there are no opportunities to use them and cross some of the rivers I will be facing.

I have a few jobs to complete in the Motor home before I am ready to leave Skegness for my journey starting with Boston. From here I will cross the river Welland before I turn south east and then east to reach Holbeach. I will then continue along the A17 crossing the river Nene at Sutton Bridge where I will enter Norfolk. The next crossing will be over the river Great Ouse and onwards to Kings Lynn. Soon after leaving Kings Lynn I will arrive at Sandringham where my final destination for today will be the caravan site on the Sandringham estate. By this time I will have almost completed my navigation around the Wash and although the weather is not good I will pass through some places with interesting histories will I will attempt to summarize as the day goes by.

My last job at Skegness is to return the keys for the caravan site and bid farewell to the wardens. There are a couple of pictures I want to get before I leave on the road out of town. It is about 1000 and as I said earlier there will not much hugging of the coast line today.

I manouever my way out of Skegness, not forgetting my pictures, along by now what is a very wet A52 as I travel to Boston.

Leaving Skegness

The weather is being altogether uncooperative and with thick overcast skies and consistent rain the photo opportunities don’t look very promising and I suspect will be few and far between today.

Onward then to Boston and the journey passes miles of fields all growing the vegetables that should keep us going for years judging by the size of the fields. The road is the main access for all the complicated farm machinery attached to giant tractors ready to put the trailer loads of plants waiting at the side of the roads to be unloaded. Boston is a small port on the river Whithorn that flows into the Wash. The most prominent feature of the town is the tower of the church of St Botolphs and is known as the Stump. It is the tower of the largest parish church in England. Emigrants from Boston took the name of their town with them to the new settlements abroad they were creating. The best known of these is Boston Massachusetts in America. During the 11th and 12th centuries the town developed into a more well known place and port. The advantage for Boston was that the river Whithorn was tidal all the way to Boston and navigable from the Wash and this of course enabled much greater trading opportunities with Europe, particularly as transport by sea  was the most economic option. There is a memorial (which I couldn’t find) commemorating the emigration of the Pilgrim Fathers to the Netherlands from Boston. Emigration of this sort was illegal at the time and this group of Pilgrims was captured and taken back to Boston for punishment in 1607. Draining the fens around the west side of Boston threatened the livelihood of those dependant on “Fowling” where essentially the meat of the local ducks was sold and the feathers and down processed for use in bedding.

Leaving Boston with no better weather I turn now down the A16 and then left towards Holbeach along the A17 which carries me around the inland border of the Wash. Between the town and the sea lies Holbeach Marshes, a large expanse of land with a complex network of small roads and lanes that go close to the sea but don’t quite get there. It is a market town on the Fenland about 8 miles from Spalding. There has been many pottery artifacts discovered in and around the town which dates it existence back to Roman times. Until the land drainage in the 18th century was completed the sea would come as close as 2 miles from Holbeach. The drainage work moved the coast line 9 miles away from the town.

Kings Lynn is to be my next call before reach Sandringham. It is referred to in the Domesday Book as Lun or Lenn and the property was divided between the Earl of Elmham and the Arch bishop of Canterbury. The town’s origin was as a settlement on the river Great Ouse in the 10th century. Kings Lynn became the third most important port in England during the 13th century. The Fens around Kings Lynn were drained in the 17th century and turned into farmland leading to the area sending large quantities of produce to the expanding markets in London. In 1708 two children were found guilty of stealing a loaf of bread and sentenced to death by public hanging in the town.  A multi million pound development scheme was commenced in 2004 for the regeneration of Kings Lynn.  The very well known “Campbell’s tower “which was the first factory owned by the now famous Campbell soup company was demolished earlier this year.

Finally then to  Sandringham which I have been looking forward to as I have heard so much about the caravan club site for its peace and tranquil nature. It is located on the Royal estate of Sandringham House. The house is the holiday home of the Royal family and is the best loved by the queen. Lady Diana Spencer was born here at Sandringham.  The first broadcast of the Christmas message was made at Sandringham House. The house was purchased by the Prince of Wales in the late 1800’s, fully furnished for £220,000. The first members of the Royal family to live there was Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark after their marriage in 1863.

The site here is more than I expected, set in open ground and surrounded by the woodlands of the estate. It is very well laid out and cared for to a high standard. The wardens made me very welcome and I soon settled in.

Sandringham Caravan site

I could stay awake no longer and slept for two hours only to be woken of the ringing of my phone. In the evening the aroma of Barbecues starts to drift around the site and filling the air and as the rain has now gone people were taking advantage of a pleasant evening. Not long after I woke and gathered all I had temporariliy lost in sleep I looked out of the window and gbazing at me was a welcome from the Royal Rabbit.

Welcome from the Royal Rabbit

No sooner than finishing visual exchanges with the Royal Rabbit, a Pigeon flew in and landed in the bush immediately behind me and looked at me with some degree of surprise. Could it be the Royal courier pigeon?

Perhaps this is a message from the house

The arrival of the local mobile fish & Chip shop arrived to the tune of a multiple horn medley and parked only 100 yards from my pitch and began to fry the evening meal for some people over the next hour. There was now a clear competition between the wafting smell of the fish and chip van and the barbecues cooking the steaks.

Arrived for the Healthy eaters?

Tomorrow the weather forecast has promised us a better day than today and as I will be returning much closer to the coast I am hoping for a much improved journey than I had today. I will spend the night tomorrow at Cromer where the coast line turns south once more.

I hope that with good weather and great places I will produce a more coastal blog report for tomorrow.

Goodnight from me and goodnight from the Rabbit

Roland

Day at Skegness

10 Jun

Day 59 – 10 June 2012.  Non Travel Sunday

I woke this morning to the sun rising above the sea in front of the caravan park at about 0430. A deep orange glow covered the sky either side of the sun and although it wasn’t a spectacular sight it gave an air of warmth from the glow and the full bright sun. The site now was completely still and inactive as you might expect from the early hour.

The publication of the blog was a rather late night affair and whilst I soon went to sleep after it was completed and into a deep sleep it unfortunately only lasted for a couple of hours. I lay there resting and contemplating my journey, finally dozing off about an hour later. Bob was picking me up at around 0815 to join them for breakfast at the B&B where they are staying. Waking again at 0645 it was time to get up and get ready at a leisurely and comfortable pace. All prepared for a day of not doing very much Bob arrives on schedule and off for breakfast. The owners of the B&B make me welcome and were pleased that I could join them. Our breakfast was an unhurried affair with a superb full English Skegness meal served hot and by friendly cheerful waitresses making it a great and rare treat for me. Copious supplies of tea and toast completed a lovely start to the day. The B&B is an old large house with some extension work and converted into an 11 bedroom accommodation. A vast amount of work, effort and creativity had gone into the design and refurbishment of the interior of the house. Exposed beams, rough plastered whitewashed walls and many ornaments and decorative trivia adorned the beams and the walls were placed around the reception, lounge and dining room enhancing the homeliness and character of the building. It is a family run business and the atmosphere, friendliness and relaxed approach by the family and the staff working there made it a place that if you were in Skegness you would want to return to. There were interesting collections that would appeal to different tastes from model cars to real old prams such as the Silver Cross with large wheels and springs. All of the prams were fully made up including sun canopies and containing scale model dolls. An old rocking horse and cabinets with many dressed dolls provided much interest and conversation subjects to choose from. The B&B was called The Sunningdale as it had been the name of the house for many years. After packing we left The Sunningdale to go back to the Skegness Sands caravan park. We sat for a while and chatted over a hot drink and both Cheryll and Bob said they would be happy to potter around for a while and then go and take a trip along to Gibralter Point on the headland south east of Skegness. Bob soon wanted to look at a few jobs that needed doing which we had talked about the evening before. One of these jobs was to try and fix the aerial on the roof that had been snapped off its mounting by a low branch in a lane somewhere in Cornwall. A quick assessment of the task and we needed to get some Araldite from a caravan spares and accessory shop just along the main road on the edge of town. Whilst we were there I also got a much needed step for the outside door to make getting in and out so much easier. This replaced the step I left on the mountains in Austria during 2008. Purchases completed we returned to the motor home and Bob soon set about refixing the aerial to its mounting bracket. This stopped the aerial from rolling around on the roof and preventing any water getting into places I didn’t need it to go. In the mean time Cheryll had undertaken to clean the refrigerator and put my laundry in for washing. Bob moved on to do a job on the spare wheel retaining bracket and secured in to place for me and stopping the wheel sliding backwards and hitting the cover.  Replacing some screws in the Wheel cover hinge made an extremely good repair job. I was really spoiled and apart from getting a few fixings from bits that I carry in the Motor home for things like this and passing some tools my contribution to the work was very small. To have all of these jobs done was an absolute bonus for me and thank you both very much for the effort and hard work.

When all was finally completed we set of for Gibralter Point calling at the caravan spares shop on the way to get cover for the gas fire exhaust pipe that had also been knocked off and a supply of cable ties to secure the locks on the spare wheel cover. On our way we purchased some food  to consume when we get there.

Gibralter Point is a 1000 acre Nature reserve owned by Lincolnshire County Council and some parts owned by the Lincolnshire Wildlife trust. A visitor centre is located at the point and contains many interesting displays about the wildlife in the area of the dunes and the wetlands. There are several walks of varying lengths having the advantage of well laid out paths and very flat to assist the visitor. I walked with Cheryll and Bob to the closest one just 100yards away from the visitor centre. It took a little while and after sitting down to rest I felt a great sense of satisfaction. The Hide and view point we were at is called the Lill building and it was originally a World War II gun emplacement. It was purchased in 1950 by Philip Lill, a local person who helped run a family business In Cast Stone which was set up by his father in 1912. He used the Gun emplacement for bird watching and storing equipment for his boat which was moored in the Haven close by. In the 1980’s he handed over the hide to be used more by the public. We spent some time there searching the Dunes with binoculars seeking out some more birds. Unfortunately the tide was out and so not a great deal was happening.

The Wash from Gibralter point

However a pleasant time was had by all three of us and we decided that we should get back as Bob wanted to complete the work he had started before they leave to get back to Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire.

It was great to see them and spend some time with them and all of their help was so valuable to me and thank you both for making the journey. I have had a marvelous day and although very few pictures were taken I enjoyed the peace of Gibralter Point and he time with Cheryll and Bob. On return to the Casravan Site it is time to get everything checked for Cheryll and Bob and they are soon ready to depart.  After they leave i settle down to prepare tonights blog and i am soon disturbed by the sound of a small aircraft overhead. I move slowly with my camera and above me flying over the beach is a powered Hang Glider. I get into the best possible position and commence taking some pictures. Here is my best effort:

Hanglider over Caravan site Skegness

By the way I have a little teaser for that I should have put on yesterday’s report. My picture was taken at Anderby Creek on a small lake close to the sea. I swim here often, sometimes with others like me but mostly on my own. What do you think I am?

What am I ?

Tomorrow I leave Skegness to begin my journey into East Anglia, around the Wash and travelling to Sandringham in Norfolk.

Goodnight

Roland

Barrow Haven to Skegness

10 Jun

Day 58 – 9 June 2012.  Distance travelled today is 80 miles

After publishing the report last night, keeping my open was proving difficult so I took the best course of action and went to bed allowing my eyes to take responsibility for their actions. That would have been about midnight and I slept well until about 0400 this morning.  I woke suddenly finding myself on the floor having slipped unceremoniously out of bed. I lay quietly for about an hour hoping to drift effortlessly back to sleep but without success. So by about 0500 I try the strategy of turning over to see if that would help. This process, simple it’s true was effective and I woke again at 0645. At this time it was still raining and I raised the blind gently to reveal the world outside.  A lively morning with the rain ricocheting off the motor home, a rabbit, darts around at great speed across the wet lush green grass to its home after a night out. Some pigeons and a thrush were also foraging about seeking an early breakfast. I had put some seed out last evening which so far had been neglected by the smaller birds that usually take up my generosity, but the small ground feeding contingent kept up their good work. There are only three other caravans on the site and apart from a gesture of hello during the rain none of us had ventured out the evening before for conversation. At 0730 the variable cloud is beginning to show signs of weakness and patches of bright blue sky are beginning to emerge all around me. Hopefully this will be the trend for the rest of the day.

I get ready to leave and whilst filling up with water I meet two people who are also preparing to leave. They were from near Heathrow airport and were returning their today. We discussed the positive features of where we were staying and they told me it was such a nice place to stay they come back each yes to use it as their base.

Leaving Barrow Haven at around 1000, Derrick the owner came to see me off and thank me for staying there and saying that he hoped I would come back again on a future occasion. I proceed east from here and my first call would be Immingham. The port is most well known for its association with the petro Chemical Industry and much of the plant is owned by the Total oil company. I remember providing some training for the Total tanker drivers from Immingham on courses at the Berystede hotel in Ascot many years ago. My passage past the refineries and chemical processing plants showed them to be gigantic and complicated structures which are amazing pieces of design and engineering.  The village of Immingham is of medieval origin and there is a memorial in the village to the departure of the Pilgrim Fathers from Immingham to the Netherlands in 1608.

Grimsby is next on my list and is found on the Humber estuary in Lincolnshire. It was known originally as Great Grimsby. The town was established by the Danes during the 9th century and is listed in the Domesday Book as having a population of 200, A Priest and a ferry. In the 12thcentury it developed as a fishing port and was granted a royal charter in 1201. There is a Dock Tower in the dock built In1851 and I spent some time trying to find a good position from which to photograph the tower. I stooped at the port gate in the hope I could go inside just to get a photograph, but the security guard would not agree to it. However not to be put off I found the best place I could to get my picture without getting into trouble and here is the immediate result. When I get home and can remove the fencing and possibly 1 or 2 other obstructions I may have a reasonable image.

Tower behind Bars

This will be a challenge for Malcolm at the photo society to see what results we can achieve at a Photoshop learning evening. A former ferry the PS Lincoln Castle was moored at the Alexandra dock in the 1980’s when it was used as a Bar/Restaurant. The design of the ship was unique and was Britain’s last surviving coal fired Paddle Steamer. Sadly she was broken up in 2010. Today the Ross Tiger is moored in its place at Alexandra Dock and this ship is the last surviving Sidewinder Trawler. Grimsby is also where our daughter Victoria received her college education at a special college, Thorseby College where they did outstanding work with Vicki to prepare her for a successful passage through life.

Cleethorpes, a couple of Miles further down the coast shows evidence of Danish occupation from the 6thcentury. In its early days it developed as a fishing village but diversified into becoming a successful holiday resort in 1820.

Cleethorpes Pier

The longest travel distance on today’s journey brings me to Saltfleet about 18 miles from Cleethorpes and 8 miles north of Mablethorpe and although it is surrounded by open countryside it is close to the sea. There is a 19th century windmill, a pub The New Inn, which dates from the17th century.

Mablethorpe is my next stop on the journey to Skegness and it has been around for many centuries. Some of the town was lost to coastal erosion in the 1540’s. Mablethorpe was visited by the Poet Andrew lord Tennyson in the 19th century and some of the streets in the town are named after him. In the novel “Sons and Daughters” by DH Lawrence Mablethorpe is the setting of the first holiday of the Morel Family from the book.

Sutton on sea is the next place I pass through and here at low tide it is possible to see the remains of an ancient submerged forest on the beaches. Going through here and from just outside the village Carol and I would bring the children and subsequently the Grandchildren to Huttoft bank along the coast beyond a Golf Course and down a narrow road to arrive at a long quiet beach of Golden sand and a must for children who want to run on an open uncrowded beach and bathe in a gentle sea. I stop here for a nostalgic lunch where we had consumed many a grand Carols’ picnic and after lunch I rested to recharge my batteries and I woke almost 2 hours later.

Beach aty Huttoft Bank

Moving on from my unplanned interlude I came to Ingoldmells and the church here has a tower dating from the 15thcentury. Butlins opened the Skegness Holiday camp here in 1936 and my eldest son Neil worked here on the camp for a number of years. During world war two the camp was closed and became a Royal Navy Shore base called HMS Royal Arthur. It also hosts the very glittering and vibrant Fantasy Island containing some of the most hair rising fairground rides I have ever seen.

Fancy a ride at Fantasy Island

Next and finally my arrival at Skegness is soon here and originally it was a fishing village until the arrival of the railway in 1875. Much advertising was given by the Great Northern Railway for excursions to Skegness and this would change the face of the town as it became more popular as a holiday destination. A statue of “The Jolly Fisherman” was used to promote Skegness which is now internationally famous.

Arriving at the caravan site just behind the Promenade and next to the Convalescent home established for Derbyshire Miners, I quickly settled in, although somewhat weary. The site warden was very welcoming and most helpful when I requested to stay for a second night.  Cheryll, Carols close cousin and her husband Bob were coming to see me at Skegness this evening and were staying overnight. The second night here would give me a rest and be able to spend some time with them during Saturday evening and Sunday looking at some places of interest in the area. It will be good to park the motor home up for the weekend and give it a well earned rest before resuming its duties on Monday. Cheryll and Bob arrived with me at about 1900 this evening and after a sit down for a chat we went out for a meal and had a delightful evening. We parted company for the night as they left to go to their B&B that Bob described as a lovely place with and outstanding friendly welcome from the owners. Tomorrow I will join them for Breakfast and I will report to you about the activities on my non travelling Sunday and I am looking forward to spending the time with Cheryll and Bob.

Take good care

Roland

Bridlington to Barrow Haven

8 Jun

Day 57 – 8 June 2012.  Distance travelled today is 78 miles

Last night I managed a reasonably sustained effort to sleep last night was made and at about 0500 I woke to face a greeting of uncertainty with the weather. We had a considerable rainfall during the night. This morning whilst it was dry to start with the cloud formation was variable so it was a case of wait and see what would happen. A leisurely shower and breakfast of poached eggs seemed to provide a good start to my day. A few daily tasks to complete and I are ready for the road just after 0900. The weather has now deteriorated and looks very much as though the rain and I will get to know each other well today. The caravan site at bridling ton only opened last year and it was a fine site, well spaced out , surrounded by established trees and good modern facilities. After booking out of the site and with farewells to the wardens I steer the Drifter towards Bridlington where I shall call in to have a blood test done. The hospital and particularly the staff on the Lawrence unit were excellent with a warm welcome, a listening ear; rapid form fillers and have a can do philosophy. Venepuncture completed and all the details recorded there was time to sit and enjoy the cup of coffee offered. The sister explained that the results would be back with her this afternoon and she would telephone them through to me. Aren’t we so lucky to have the services of our NHS? Back on the road again and passing through Bridlington I take the road to Fraisthorpe, my first stop for the day. Arriving in the village I turn left at the signpost for the beach. After about 10 minutes of driving along a narrow lane that twisted and turned all the way to the shore the beach car park opened up ahead of me. With the poor weather I expected to find the place deserted but there was a large caravan rally taking place in a big field at the end of the car park and there was about four wind surfers enjoying the rather active sea. I parked next to another motor home that is also a compass Drifter like mine. The lady was telling me that they liked their Drifter as it had everything they needed. She was there with her family so that their son could do some windsurfing training on the sea. He has been selected to train with the national squad and is hopeful to be selected next year to represent England. It was his first time out at sea so Mum was understandably nervous for him. They certainly have high hopes for their son and I wished them every success.  I stayed a little while to try and get some pictures of the surfers in between the rain drops.

Returning to the main road I resume my trip with the next stop being Skipsea which is north of Hornsea. From researching the area before I left Bridlington I read about Skipsea castle in a small area outside of the village called Skipsea Brough. The castle was built in 1069 and although the castle has been destroyed. Extensive excavations have revealed some impressive earthworks. Having located the site of the castle the only access was by walking some distance and so no pictures were forthcoming.

The next village I pass through is Atwick which is very close to the sea and it has suffered significantly from damage caused by the sea water on its shore. In the centre of the village stands an old stone cross erected in 1786. It was placed at a distance of 33 chains and 63 links from the sea. The significance of the positioning appears to be uncertain. The distance now of course has been drastically reduced because of the erosion caused by the sea.

Village Cros – Alwick

Hornsea is soon upon me after only a few miles from Atwick where it is completely different to the small places I have been today. It is well known for its pottery factory making Hornsea Pottery. This brings back memories for me as in our early days; carol and I purchased some of first pottery purchase together from Hornsea Pottery. Sadly when I found the site the pottery had gone and the area has been replaced with a modern outlet village. The Trans Pennine taril ends at Hornsea and the end point is identified by the Trans Pennine end marker on the sea front. A pier was opened up at Hornsea in 1880, but in the same year it was severely damaged by a ship and in 1897 the pier was finally demolished. Next I go through the small village of Aldbrough which hosed gun emplacements, Lookouts and underground bunkers in the Second World War. I continue to Roos and like Aldbrough it is a very small place. On the coast just east of Roos is the Prime Meridian; this being the line of “0” degrees Longitude. J R Tolkien also lived here and the area was an inspiration for his Novel Lord of the Rings.

I next approach Withernsea where I shall turn west to travel along the bank of the river Humber. A pier was built at Withernsea in 1877 and was an impressive 400 yards in length. The entrance to the pier is guarded by two towers which following refurbishment is in very good condition. The whole project cost £12000 and in the 19thcentury a railway line was built connecting Withernsea to Hull.  This line provided the opportunity for many holiday makers in the Victorian period to travel from Hull to have a seaside holiday in Withernsea.

Withernsea towers

Just before crossing the Humber Bridge I drive through Hessle which suffered very badly in the floods of 2007 and tragically people lost their lives. The Hessle festival is an annual event dating from the 1800’s and takes place each year and its purpose is to celebrate the forthcoming year. The feast this year was timed to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Derrick the owner of the caravan site was telling me that part of the feast this year was a grand waterborne procession for both Sailing and powered boats. The procession was enhanced by the presence of two tugs from the estuary and they provided water canon displays with the procession and it must have been a sight worth witnessing I am certain.

The site I am on is only a five minute walk along a lane, over an unmanned railway crossing and I understand that from the bank of the river the view of the Humber Bridge is outstanding. The place is called Barrow Haven just outside the village of Barrow on Humber. In the market place at Barrow on Humber are Stock Stones and here in medieval time’s local law breakers were tied to the stones as a public punishment for their misdemeanors. The stones are worn on one side from the movement of those tied to them.

Tomorrow I am looking to stay at the caravan Club site in Skegness and so I will be travelling east back along the south bank of the Humber to Grimsby and Cleethorpes at the mouth of the river.

Humber Bridge from the North

From here I shall work my way south travelling close to the sea down to Skegness.

I shall look forward to my journey tomorrow and telling you all about it at the end of the day.

Roland

Scarborough to Bridlington

7 Jun

Day 56- 7 June 2012.  Distance travelled today is 69miles

Hello again and welcome to the 7thJune and day 56, The finale to yesterday added yet another new experience to this voyage which was a bit dramatic in its presentation. Having arrived at West Aynton in the warmth of a lovely sunny day and settled onto the site it wasn’t long before we suffered absolute intensive rain storm quickly followed by Thunder and lightning to the extent that after the first major lightning flash we had an area wide power failure.

Raindrops keep falling-

Would this have something to do with leaving Scotland behind me I wonder? For me it meant switching over to oxygen cylinders until the power is restored. It is anticipated to be for around three hours before normality is established once more. With all of the blog completed by hand and the pictures downloaded I now need to wait for power so that I can transcribe my work and publish the blog. The site I stayed at last night was at a small village called West Ayton which is about 4 miles west of Scarborough. Lying to the east of the village are the ruins of Ayton castle which was built in 1390. During the late 17th century stone from the castle was used to rebuild the bridge over the nearby river Derwent that flows between East and west Ayton.

When I get up in the morning to the damp around me but clear opening skies I step outside to recover my bird feeder from the tree to the side of me. The contents were soaking wet from the rain last night so I scatter the seed along the bank for consumption during the day. It was then I noticed a small creature foraging on the edge of the Hedgerow for food.  I thought it would be great for it to be the subject of the “what am I” question today. The picture I have got for you was taken very quickly before I lost the opportunity. So here it is and what do think I might be?

Can you tell me what I am ?

I leave the site at about 1000 to my first call at Scarborough and before I get to the sea I call at a supermarket to replenish used stock.  It is believed that the town was founded about 966 AD by Thorgills Skarthi. A Viking raider. The famous Scarborough Fair was permitted by a royal charter in 1253 allowing a 6 week festival of trading bringing merchants in from across Europe. The fair was held for 500 years up to the 18th century and it ran from August 15th to 29thSeptember. Scarborough first hotel was opened in 1863, the Grand Hotel and it was Europe’s largest hotel at the time. Anne Bronte the novelist died and is buried here in Scarborough.

Sea front in Bridlington

Moving south east from Scarborough I come upon Filey which is found on the coast between Scarborough and Bridlington. The oldest building in Filey is the parish church from the 12th century. Filey remained a small village until the 18th century when its popularity increased with large numbers of visitors from Scarborough seeking peace and quiet. Filey was well known for its Butlins holiday camp which ran for 40 years until its closure in 1984. During the war it was an RAF station, RAF Hunmanby Moor.

I continue my journey south east and beyond the golden sands of Filey Bay calling at Bempton Cliffs, a place that brings back fond memories of visits there with Carol to see the Puffins at the RSPB wildlife site at the edge of the cliff tops. The walk on the cliff was contemplated but on this occasion not attempted. So for me not a Puffin in sight. The cliffs are an amazing sight and if you are in the area they are a simply a must to visit. From the RSPB centre out to the cliffs is a very pleasant walk with viewing areas scattered along the footpaths.

To complete my visit to this peninsula I go to Flamborough Head and on the way I pass the Chalk tower which is the oldest surviving complete lighthouse in England which was built in 1674. The new lighthouse can be visited for guided tours in the holiday season. Nearby is Danes Dyke which effectively is a long man made ditch between the north and south landings. It is believed to be pre historic in origin and arrow heads have been found from the Bronze Age.

Chalk Lighthouse Tower Flamborough Head

Next then to Bridlington where I phoned two friends earlier knowing they had a holiday home there and they possibly might be staying. As it happened they had returned there this morning so I arranged to call in for a coffee with Maurice and Elizabeth. I worked with Maurice in the Derbyshire Ambulance service and subsequently with them both at the Royal International Air Tattoo where they had given their time for many years in support of the RAF Charities. Whilst with them a neighbour from the same Holiday Park called to see them and this also was a colleague from The Ambulance service.  It was good to see Fred who looked very well and fit for his age. I had a relaxing couple of hours at their luxurious holiday home before moving on to my stopping place for the night.

Bridlington has an interesting history and part of that is that the right to have a weekly market and annual fair was granted by King John. Subsequently the number of annual fairs was increased to three by Henry VI in 1446.  Shell fish from Bridlington are exported to France, Spain and Italy in an industry reputed to be worth several million pounds a year.

Some of you may recall from yesterday that I had planned to get to Kilnsea tonight. With a night of restless sleep last night and being without power for several hours left me feeling weary today so I decided that a last minute alteration would be sensible and booked a stay at the Caravan Club site on the north side of Bridlington. After my visit to see Maurice, Elizabeth and Fred I return to the caravan site to settle for the night, giving me time to complete the blog at a more sensible hour and more leisurely than yesterday. It also gave me the opportunity to plan for tomorrows trip where my revised target will be the south bank of the rive Humber close to the Humber Bridge and this will allow me to keep a reasonable distance to travel. The journey will take me along the east coast passing through Hornsea, Withernsea and then across the Humber Bridge. I will no doubt be calling at some of the smaller places on that route.

I will look forward to a good day and letting you know how it all goes.

Roland

Stockton on Tees to Scarborough

7 Jun

Day 55- 6 June 2012.  Distance travelled today is 68 miles

Following the publication of the late night final yesterday it had got quite late and it was the cue to exit stage left and leave the stage of the Internet and try the art of sleeping. Over the years sleeping has been one of my better skills and achievement. Like so any of these things the less you use what you have the less good you become and it would seem that this is the case for me regarding sleep. We had quite a lot of rain during the night and during my few hours of good sleep; I was simply unaware of the amount of rain that had fallen. When I woke the sky was cloudy ranging from dull grey cloud to areas of thin white cloud through which patches of clear blue sky emerged. The air was warm but with no visible sun to spread that warm glow. I was left optimistic and rose for the early shower. Fully refreshed, I am ready to consider today’s plan and working out where I can stay tomorrow. Giving due consideration to all the possible influences, the decision was made to stay on a small farm site at Kilnsea which is south of Whithernsea and at the mouth of the river Humber. I telephone to ascertain it would be alright to stay there, but alas, “no answer came the stern reply”. I leave a message and hope that someone will phone back with a positive response. I met the family staying next to me who was having a break with their grandson, Hamen. He seemed a bright young man and the first question he asked was why was I carrying that machine? Checking with his Grandad I explained to Hamen why and how it worked. He soon grasped enough new knowledge to satisfy his curiosity and decided it was time to have bike ride around the site.

This morning after cleaning up and disconnecting, travel readiness is established. I bid farewell to my neighbours and fill up with water before leaving White Water Park. As I drive around the site to leave there are number of caravans that the owners had decorated with Bunting and large Union Jack flags to mark yesterday’s jubilee.

Jubilee Caravan

I did say yesterday that I would look around this morning and try to expand a bit on the White Water course and the Tees Barrage. As it was so close I and at about 1000 I thought the best way would be to go there and see it in action first hand. I pulled up at the centre with the aim of going to the specially created viewing area and consume as hot drink from the Café there. It all seemed reasonably quiet and all the canoes were moored uniformly with not a canoeist to be seen and the water as calm as it could be. The main activity of the site at the moment is that it is being used for the training of the GB team for this year’s Olympics. With no one about to ask I decide to move away from the park and go to the Tees Barrage. A barrage is the name given to some kind of artificial barrier across a water course often used to change a water course or change the water level. In this case it was used to help control flooding of the area. All the pumps that generate the white water stood idle and so there was simply nothing spectacular to look at. It is a shame as I would think that there would have been a chance to get some good pictures of the white water.

Time is now ready to depart for Redcar and I rejoin the coast for my journey along the south bank of the river Tees.  Redcar sits just south of Tynemouth and looks out across the North Sea. It has 8 miles of extensive sandy beaches stretching both north and south of the town. The origins are as a fishing town, dating from the early 14thcentury. At the time Redcar was secondary in importance to nearby Marske by the sea a little further south. Redcar emerged as the centre attracting tourists and was very popular with the Victorian tourist. The well known racecourse has been in existence at Redcar since 1875. The world’s oldest surviving Lifeboat, built by Harry Greathead from South Shields is found today in the sea front museum at Redcar. The lifeboat was named “Zetland” and was operated from Redcar in 1802.

Redcar Frome Marske

Six miles further along the coast I arrive at Saltburn-by–the-sea. Old saltburn was a settlement that formed the origin of the town and it was an area very popular for Smugglers. In the late 1800’s the Pease family purchased some land from the Earl of Zetland and housing was built with as many possible positioned to get a sea view. The icing on the cake for Henry Pease was the completion of the Zetland hotel.

As I go further south I see some signs pointing to a village called Skinningrove and the name touched my curiosity so I went down to see what it had to offer. I discover that it is of Viking influence and the name means Skinners Grove or Pit. Until recently the village operated its own slaughterhouse and prospered from farming and fishing. Later in the 18oo’s an Ironstone works was opened and the prosperity dramatically improved. Mining carried on until 1958 and the works closed finally in 1980. In April 2003 a rare “Oarfish”  was caught at Skinningrove and it weighed  140 pound and was 11 feet long.

On The Beach

Before getting to Whitby I go to look at another village, called Staithes. Descending towards the top of the village I find a car park with many cars in and a large sign saying there is no public parking in the village centre. There was no indication I could see that prevented driving into the village. Not wishing to be defeated I took the turn and descended further into the Village proper and the descent was a challenge, not only for the steep gradient but also because the street was very narrows and surfaced with cobbles. While I was there I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures and if I was on foot then use of my tripod would have got some outstanding images. I turn round at the harbour which is very active with people sitting on the wall or at the café tables having hot drinks and copious chips and rolls. Whether you have an interest in photography or not and you are ever in the area it is a must to go and look round. Some of the women in Staithes stil wear the “Staithes Bonnet” and it is possible to purchase them from the local gift shop. Careful manoeuvering back along the cobbled street I arrive back at the car park at the top. This has to be easily the best place I visited today.

Staithes

Whitby is the next place of interest and of course is best known for its role in the TV series Heartbreak. The origin of the town dates back to 656 and the Christian King of Northumbria founded the first Abbey. Although the Abbey was rebuilt after its virtual destruction the ruin is still the most prominent feature of Whitby standing high above the town. It is the oldest landmark and can be seen from miles around.  Whitby has also featured in the Bram Stokes novel, Dracula. The town developed extensively by extending its role into shipbuilding and it became the third largest shipbuilding town in the 1700’s.  By 1975 Whitby was a major Whaling port and at its height in 1814 8 shops caught a total of 172 Whales.

Before reaching Scarborough I call at Robin Hoods Bay just a few miles further south from Whitby. The bay was mentioned in 1536 and during this century Robin Hoods Bay was more important than Whitby. Smuggling was rife at this time and the Bay was extensively used for this purpose. It is reputed that there are underground tunnels linking the house involved in the smuggling. In 1773 two Excise vessels were chased out of the bay by smugglers boats using gunfire and in late 1779 a battle in the dock took place between the smugglers and the excise officers over 200 casks of Brandy. In 1881 a ship ran aground just off the bay and the lifeboat from Whitby 6 miles away was pulled by 18 horses with an advanced party of 200 men working ahead to clear the route for the large trailer being used. Two hours later the lifeboat arrives and on the second attempt all 18 on board were saved. The main activity today is tourism which was very obvious today and also some local fishing is still carried out.

Feeling now quite weary I decide to go directly to the caravan site and return to Scarborough tomorrow morning. I cut across the delightful North Yorkshire Moors where the weather begins to change and as I drove it was clear that a lot of rain had fallen and more seemed to be on the way. I soon arrive at west Ayton and receive a warm welcome from the warden. She meticulously showed me where I would park and how I should position my vehicle on the Pitch. Parking in a secluded area of the site with trees and bushes all around me, I connected everything up and was ready now for the rest of the day. The time believe it or not is only 1530.  I went inside and promptly lay down and went to sleep. On waking I work more on my blog but my comfort and peace were soon to be disturbed as the most intense rain storm occurred that I had seen in a long time. Accompanying the heavy rain was a Thunder and Lightning storm and within a few moments we were devoid of any electricity. Eventually I establish that it will be off for the next 3 hours. With all this happening I decide to try and address my fatigue a bit more with another sleep in the hope that when I wake the situation will be back to normal. This unfortunately was not the and with my concentrator battery beginning to run low I resort to my oxygen cylinder stock ad switch over to the portable oxygen pack. The power cut remained as indicated and after just over 3 hours it returned as quickly as it left us. As it is now late I will end the blog here for today and start off tomorrow with Scarborough.

Roland

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