Sunday, August 26, 2012

Third time lucky

After two previous attempts were at least partially a wash-out, this year's late August cycling holiday in Norfolk went without rain.

Arriving at the King's Head soon after midday on the second day (temperatures pushing 30) of the one really hot weekend we've had this year, I headed up to the Gin Trap at Ringstead for lunch, then out to Burnham Market along the back lane that's marked as a cycle route.

View 19 August 2012 in a larger map

Following a shandy at the Nelson 1805 (formerly the Jockey), I headed back, deciding on a different route, through the narrow lanes to Syderstone. I didn't stop at the sign saying "Unsuitable for motor vehicles", but carried on into where it became unmade. The first bit was loose stone, so I needed to push, and later there were stretches of dry loose sand, which were for going barefoot and pushing -- though in the late afternoon heat, and without air cooling, I was dripping with sweat on the pushing sections.

I didn't quite make it to the main road unscathed -- just a few yards short, there was a pool of silty mud across the whole track, which clung to the tyres as I pushed, and oozed between the toes.

Back at base, despite the two refreshment stops, I sank a couple of bottles of mineral water; and then the same again plus a pint of Spitfire over dinner.

View 20 August 2012 in a larger map

The next day was duller and cooler; and the route I took through North Creake aimed to do in reverse the path through Holkham Hall I did last year, only this time there was no garden produce for the picnic lunch on the coastal path towards Wells. Indeed everything was being late -- not even blackberries were ripe for picking; mostly still having flower buds opening.

Year without a summer

Blackberries way behind schedule (blossom and buds way over-exposed)

Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall

With the hour advancing, by the time I was heading south from Wells, it was too late for looking for pubs, except if they'd be open all day, so I just took an easy way back.

View 21 August 2012 in a larger map

The last day's ride was aimed again for a Gin Trap lunch, going to Sandringham, following the cycle route to Sedgeford, then detouring out to Heacham, using the cycle paths to Hunstanton, thence to Ringstead.

Ringstead Mill

Ringstead Mill

The last bit went cross country, taking an early turn from the cycle route towards Docking (passing the one blackberry bush I saw all weekend with ripening berries), then the road to Fring where I hardly had to pedal once (and then only because of a gusty south-westerly), before taking a final loop around the (for once, dry) green lane to the west of Great Bircham; totalling about 95 miles in a hotter and thus less energetic holiday than last month.

And then home, with a token few sprinkles of rain on the windscreen on the way.

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