Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Rolling Hills of... Norfolk

Day One: A gentle ride along the national cycle route into King Lynn and back. A total of sixteen miles. Very pleasant route along good signposted, flat, well kept cycle paths through a few pretty villages. We double backed along same route on return journey to base camp.

Day two: After much studying of the local O/S map John picked a ‘great’ route for thee and Mrs John (hereafter refereed to as J and Mrs). J advised it would be a fairly flat route along a Roman road, mostly free of traffic, approx 20 miles round trip. Mrs was still getting used to her feet being cleated to her peddles so was glad of another easy day (typical girl)! J and Mrs had brought their hybrid bikes with them for this trip since mountain bikes would not be needed on these flat roads... or so they thought!

Starting by turning off the main road along Kings Avenue, a beautiful peaceful road lined with trees (we should probably know what kind of trees, but for the purpose of this let's just say they were wooden ones with sticky out bits with green stuff attached). Passing farms and wonderful countryside views of rolling fields in the distance - the sun was shining too - this was going to a perfect and pleasant cycle. Mrs should have realised when they stopped for a photo opportunity in the quiet village of Anmer that all wasn’t what it seemed. J (above, left) posed next to a wooden carving sporting the legend “ESTE PARATI” (“Be prepared”)!

Without taking note of the wording at the time J and Mrs cycled on, soon coming upon the roman road called Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path: It did look slightly overgrown, but maybe just this section wasn’t used so much? Funny things always look different on O/S maps J and Mrs are sure the passing scenery was wonderful, but keeping upright and not heading into yet another pot hole (Ooh! What was that smell?) distracted from any nice views they might otherwise have been admired. Mile after mile and the track didn’t improve - J by this time way ahead of Mrs - so on Mrs struggled to try and keep up while stopping to collect the O/S map that J hadn’t realised he’d dropped. Eventually J waited for Mrs to catch up; not just to see whether she’d picked up the O/S map of course, but also to check the level of her sense of humour. J could see that it was fading rapidly so suggested they head along to the east via the village of Sedgeford along the country roads rather than to try and keep pushing up this so called 'cycle route'.

I don't think we're in Kansas Anymore Toto...

In agreement J and Mrs turned off towards the west, picking up speed now they were back on the flat and level tarmac road, soon arriving in a pretty village and civilisation once more. Heading down the hill out of the village, head down and peddling as fast as possible, Mrs noticed that she was up to 32 mph. The road was a max of 30 mph here and they’d both just passed a Policeman with his ‘safety’ camera in hand. Shame he was pointing it in the opposite direction really! Just outside of Ringstead J and Mrs came to a curious sign (above). One mile of this - but worth it at the end as there was a wonderful barn conversion at Choseley Farm. Here J checks the O/S map and his new GPS gadget (above, right) to confirm that we were indeed…heading in the wrong direction.

The barn conversion was wonderful… but not that good, so back we went along the mile of Norfolk in hills and picked up the correct route towards Old Hunstanton. Here J and Mrs got lovely views out to sea, with the undulating sandunes in the foreground. Along the coast for about half a mile and yes a café selling cream teas (below), Perfect! Very civilised and well needed. A quick stop for the evening's BBQ supplies and then J and Mrs popped in to Fat Birds Don’t Fly cycle shop; here they were given a recommended route through some good tracks.

Who ate all the pies?

With bellies full of cream teas and the prospect of an easier route back to camp J and Mrs’s sprits’ were high. A quick short-cut took them off the main road to the disused quarry. J and Mrs commented that this wasn’t quite what they were expecting, with having had so much rain in previous weeks the grass had had a growth spurt, as had the overhanging trees, shrubs and bushes. After much negotiating J was soon speeding off, Mrs was struggling to keep up with the pace. Suddenly the path split - which way had J taken? - Mrs wasn’t sure, by the time she took the fork to the left the overhanging tree caught her off guard, the bramble bush jumped out and pulled her down to the ground, feet still cleated to the peddles! Though J was a fair distance ahead he still heard the commotion and cries of ‘help get me out please!’. Back to the rescue to find Mrs sprawled, bike on top of her, in the only bramble bush they’d passed that day. Scratches and scrapes, J hesitated; should he take a photo now or wait until she’s free of the thorns? Sense prevailed and he carefully pulled first the bike, then the ‘bleeding’ Mrs out of the brambles. Not until much later would the two them note that this place was aptly called ‘Lousy Bush Wood’.

The rest of the journey back to the campsite was fairly uneventful and gave them both time to take in the views out to sea, through idyllically English villages and the fields of poppies they passed along the way. Back at base camp… in need of a shower and pair of tweezers to remove the remaining thorns and wash away pain of the stinging legs! With the BBQ fired up both J and Mrs had a well deserved beverage of the alcoholic kind and sat chatting about the day’s events: Distance: 36 miles; Max speed 30.2 mph; Gradient flat... and yes, hills in parts!

(Posted by: Em)

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At 10:27 pm, November 21, 2007, Blogger Ad said...

Well done you guys!

Funny how a wee jaunt turned into a big effort! Thase 'boob' signs always crack me up, how sad is that?



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