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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.