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Archives for adventures

Stamford

November 18th, 2023

Back on the road again and this time heading north-west from Peterborough.
Last time when I reached Peterborough it was already dark so I didn’t get to explore much. Here’s the cathedral.

Peterborough cathedral

The rest of city is a bit a of a dump to be honest. I wouldn’t recommend it.

From there I walked along the river Nene to Stamford in Lincolnshire which is altogether nicer.

River Nene

The town is very picturesque with all the buildings made out of local limestone (the picture below is from a second visit when I returned in the daytime). There’s also a lot of independent shops and restaurants. It seemed so nice in fact that I wondered why I’d never heard of it before. But it turns out I’m just ignorant as the Sunday Times voted it as the best place to live in the Midlands. Unfortunately that means the house prices are all outrageously high and locals can’t afford to live there any more.

Stamford

The Mission to Great Yarmouth

October 27th, 2023

I’ve wanted to continue walking along the North Sea coast since my trip to Sheringham back in June but the next section was quite daunting as the nearest town accessible by public transport was Great Yarmouth about 33 miles away. However I plucked up some courage and stayed overnight in Cromer so I could get an earlier start and began the epic mission!

At 33.7 miles this was close to a doof.me.uk record, beaten only by my trek along Watership Down back in 2015.

Happisburgh lighthouse

The scenery wasn’t all that exciting: just miles and miles of sand dunes and sea wall. And I didn’t stop to look around much as I was trying to keep my average pace above 3mph.

Peterborough

October 16th, 2023

I was struck by the scene of utter desolation on the cover of the Peterborough OS map and knew I had to visit. So I hastily planned a trip starting from March where I left off before.

Inspiring

How I longed to be that that guy trudging head-down along a muddy canal bank.

Actually it wasn’t that bad. Just very flat. And straight. There are some interesting places beyond Peterborough too like Rutland Water and “Leicestershire” so stay tuned.

Bury St Edmunds

September 29th, 2023

Back on the road again! And this time I’m exploring Suffolk. Bury St Edmunds to be exact. Here’s the cathedral, which along with the ruins of the abbey is the main attraction of the town. Although those also a large market and lots of independent shops.

Burt St Edmunds cathedral

First I walked from Newmarket to Bury, and then on a second day from Bury to Thetford. The second section was perhaps more interesting, except the it which involved several miles walking down a dead-straight track through a forest.

Thetford has a bit of a Dad’s Army theme: apparently it was filmed there! They have a museum (closed by the time I arrived) and a new statue in the town centre.

Captain Mainwaring’s statue

Cromer

July 14th, 2023

A few days after my Sheringham outing I walked a bit further along the coast to Cromer with my mum.

Cromer is another traditional seaside resort. On the way there we passed through an area said to be haunted by a supernatural dog that was the inspiration for the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Cromer pier

While we were staying in Sheringham we also paid a visit to the local preserved heritage railway line. It was a bit short so I probably wouldn’t recommend riding on it all day.

North Norfolk Railway

Sheringham

June 30th, 2023

My parents were staying in Sheringham for a week recently which was very convenient as I’d been slowly walking in that general direction along the Norfolk coast. So I made a return visit to Burnham Overy Staithe and set off over the sand dunes.

Not long after I started I encountered this swimming race. Except it was low tide or something and in the middle of the river is a large sandbank which forced the swimmers to walk instead. It was mildly entertaining.

“Swimming” race

A few days later I ended up back at Burnham Overy Staithe again and bought this memento. Apparently it’s one of a number of similar cups commissioned from a local potter with inspiration from the scenery of Burhnam Overy Staithe.

The essence of Burnham Overy Staithe in cup form

For a coastal path there was surprisingly little sight of the sea. Instead there were endless marshes and salt flats. Eventually I ended up in this charming little village Cley-next-the-Sea.

Cley-next-the-Sea

You should always be careful what you wish for, and so my wish to see more of the sea was cruelly granted with a gruelling 5+ mile hike over the pebble beach. I would have gone further inland to find firmer ground but unfortunately the way was blocked by a minefield (I’m not making this up, it’s part of the Muckleburgh Military Collection site). Eventually I reached a path up the cliffs and into Sheringham. Won’t be repeating that section again.

Sheringham

Ridgeway Redux

May 31st, 2023

I’ve been wanting to go back and walk along the ridgeway for ages: I haven’t been since 2017. Well I finally made it last weekend and walked westward from Foxhill near Swindon to the Thames at Streatley.

My favourite part is always the neolithic sites at Wayland’s Smithy and Uffington Castle, and truth be told, once I passed those it became a bit of a slog. It was really hot and the sun felt pretty intense with no shade or clouds. After 27 miles of trekking I returned home by rail replacement bus, yay.

The Hundred Foot Drain

May 21st, 2023

I first heard of the Hundred Foot Drain when I walked to Downham Market last year and I’ve wanted to go back and visit it ever since.

The Hundred Foot Drain is clearly longer than 100 feet

It’s an completely straight man-made river dug in the 17th century to drain the surrounding fens, much to the annoyance of the local fen-folk.

The surrounding countryside is mostly below sea level as well as being utterly featureless so predictably after a few miles of walking along the overgrown bank it became interminably dull and I decided to break off and head to the nearby town of March.

Wind farm next to the River Nene

March is a perfectly pleasant market town although I arrived too late to visit the local museum or other attractions. It’s also incidentally the start of the March March march which I might be forced to attempt at some point.

Centre of March

Hunstanton to Holkham Nature Reserve

May 13th, 2023

Off on another adventure to the remotest northern part of wildest Norfolk!

I continued along the coast from where I left off in Hunstanton a few months ago. I planned to walk as far as Wells-next-the-Sea but as usually that proved overly optimistic. It took ages to get back to Hunstanton – 50 minutes on the train to Kings Lynn and then another hour on a bus – so I didn’t get started until well after 11. It was also a Sunday which turned out to be a major mistake as the last bus back was at 18:30. I strode briefly onto the sands dunes at Holkham nature reserve several miles from my destination around 17:50 realised there was no way I was going to complete this mission and so retreated to the nearest bus stop at the bizarrely named Burnham Overy Staithe.

Burnham Overy Staithe

I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as my earlier walk from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton. Despite being near the sea I hardly saw any of it (it’s all marshes) and the scenery was rather featureless and bleak. The occasional fishing villages like the one above were pleasant enough I suppose, although not enough to justify the faffing required to get there and back.

Newmarket

April 10th, 2023

I set out on a quest to Newmarket last weekend but the direct route suffered from a lack of footpaths so I went this very round-about way and arrived quite late.

I would recommend skipping the first part up to Fulbourn: not Cambridge’s most interesting suburbs. But after that the scenery was great, definitely the east is where all the region’s nice countryside is.

Stream near Fulborn

Here’s some strange churches I discovered at Swaffam Prior.

Unusual pair of churches at Swaffham Prior

Finally I crossed the famous Newmarket race course. Quite literally cross the course at one point as the path apparently ran across it, although the whole place was deserted at the time.

Crossing Newmarket race course