Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Ride from Cromer to King’s Lynn–Part 5 Cycling Wells-next-the-sea to King’s Lynn

Good Friday, 18th April 2014: I can’t say I really enjoyed my detour to Wells-next-the-sea, partly because it was so crowded and partly because I got a puncture.  After puncturing somewhere around the Holkham Meals track I carried on until I reached solid ground. Whilst the ground was sandy I wasn’t too bothered about causing any tyre problems but once on hard ground I had no excuses. There was an ice-cream van parked at the end of Lady Anne’s Drive. which led to Holkham Hall but doubled up as a linear car park.

I decided to replace the inner tube and fix the puncture with a patch when I got home. although the weather wasn’t too bad I did find myself getting a bit cold. I scanned the tyre looking for an obvious problem but found nothing. I also struggled with getting the tyre off the wheel the cold made me a little clumsy. Once I had done that I found the hole in the inner tube and then went looking on the tyre for the problem. There was a very fine and sharp thing.  It looked to fine to be a thorn and I wondered whether it was metal.

If I had been at home I would have pulled it out with tweezers, but that is one thing I don’t carry. So I tried to pull it out with my finger nails and even tried to nip it out with my teeth.  I used Schwalbe Marathon plus tyres – which I reckon are amongst the best for resisting punctures, but if you do get a puncture whatever it is that makes it hard for the tyre to be pierced also makes it hard to remove an offending item. Even when I had removed the object I wasn’t that sure I had gotten it all out.

So it was with some trepidation I stuck a new inner tube on and then cack-handedly tried to get the tyre back on. My impatience led to me nipping the new inner tube. As soon as I had done it I feared the worst, but hoped it would be ok and tried to inflate the tube…

The trouble is I was also having to do the repairs in front of an audience. Fortunately I had another tube with me and the next time around took more care to seat the tyre before easing the last bit of the tyre onto the rim.  Done properly I can fit the tyre without using tyre levers, but it takes a bit of patience to ease the tyre.  It was with some relief I inflated the tyre and fitted the wheel back onto the bike and set off.

I stopped, or rather tried to, I‘d forgotten to reconnect the brakes in my haste. Normally more haste means less speed, when it comes to brakes more haste means more speed!  (Note I did have patches with me, so I could have dealt with further punctures.)

I soon warmed up and cycled through the grounds of Holkham Hall.  If you check out the last link there is a long straight drive which passes through Obelisk Wood – called the Avenue. The fields either side of the Obelisk were well farmed.

Holkham Hall –  Views from the Avenue

Map of my Ride

As you can see the Avenue was a little lumpy.

Holkham Hall –  The Avenue and Obelisk

The route emerged onto a country lane and passed through Burnham Thorpe and then through Burnham Market. I did wonder whether I has passed through a time warp when cycling through the Holkham Estate. The council is clearly thrifty and not replacing road signs when the (very) old ones will do. I cycled slowly. If I had still got my I-Spy book I would have probably scored two points for this one. (They still exist in re-launched form!)

Old Road Sign – Burnham Market

Unfortunately somewhere along the country lane between Burnham Market and Ringstead there was a horse-ing event (Horse Trials). To be fair such things are to be expected on Easter Weekends. The trouble was that I was on the lane used by competitors to get their horsies in and out (The place where the event is is marked and Ringstead lane is just below).

Now the lane is pretty much a single lane with passing places. So I found myself pulling over to let horse trucks and the like past me every now and then.  All the drivers were courteous and there weren’t any punishment passes just smiles. However it is very tiring to keep stopping on a bicycle and then re-starting. However I felt it would have been wrong to cause lots of vehicles to wait as I cycled along. The moral of the story is to check my routes for Bank Holiday complications.

Once I’d reached Ringstead the road widened and the horsey vehicles dispersed. Although I was getting a little tired and I had been this way fairly recently there were things to see. This patch of flowers along the edge of the field is a cover crop of Lacy Phacelia. Deliberately sown by the farmer to attract beneficial insects (bees). It looks nice as well.

Lacy Phacelia -  somewhere on NCN1

Red Campion along the roadside

I had a quick look on the Web – this farm in Norfolk – Courtyard Farm has fields full of cowslips. In fact looking at the map I reckon the picture is near Courtyard Farm.  I was passing through Ringstead Common.  (Here is a link to Courtyard Farm).

A little further along and a field almost covered with Cowslips

After passing through Ringstead I carried on to King’s Lynn although there was a pretty good view of the Wash.

The Wash seen from NCN1

The route passes Sandringham and then heads through Castle Rising. The route into Castle Rising looks as it it is the road for a grand home. On the map it appears as a bridleway, crossing the Babingley River. A check on an old map suggests that it was the main road into Castle Rising before various by-pass roads were built.

NCN1 into Castle Rising

Even on the old map this was labelled as St Felix’s Church (remains of). Apparently the first Christian Church in the County.

The Remains of St Felix’s Church, Babingley

I rather like the Church of St Lawrence in Castle Rising,  which if you follow the link indicates that Castle Rising was one of the Sandringham Estate villages.

I used my phone to take this picture and used one of the camera apps that takes a patchwork of pictures and then stitches them together.

Church of St Lawrence – Castle Rising

Ah the power of the Internet. I used to pass this and think it was a rather strange (in a nice way) lamppost. It is the Castle Rising War Memorial. Hence the Poppy Wreaths behind it.

Castle Rising War Memorial

As I made my way through the outskirts of greater King’s Lynn along a pleasant but not very direct Sustrans route I had to stop and take this picture.

This is what we should be able to expect – that our kids can easily cycle of to places to meet their friends and to play, without a care.  To me it looks like a group have cycled up to the “Rec” and their bikes lay where they were dropped, along with some scattered belongings.

Scattered Cycles on the Rec – freedom and youth

The station at King’s Lynn is being refurbished and so the little cafe I used to pop into is not available. Or rather I have assumed that the cafe is shut – but not actually checked. I ought to look really. The cafe celebrated 100 years a couple of years ago.

When looking on the web I noticed this – “Could the railway line between King’s Lynn and Hunstanton finally be re-opened…”

this station is like a cut-down Norwich railway station.

King’s Lynn Railway Station

You turn up and stuck you bike on the train on this route – in the door area. I always try to wedge the bike (on the right hand side looking towards the front). I have had the bike fall once or twice.

I settled down had a drink and some jelly babies and then struggled to avoid falling asleep – just succeeding. Partly because one passenger conducted a very loud conversation on her mobile phone much to the amusement of many people in the carriage.

Cycle Provision (not) – King’s Lynn to Cambridge Train

I had two drink bottles with me the other one was one the seat for me to drink from.

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