Monday, September 22, 2014

22nd Sept: Sheringham- Great Yarmouth (88km)

Last week of freedom.

Another misty start, but offset by a cooked breakfast: YHA luxury. I headed down the coast road, through a wind and wave-swept Cromer which isn't doing badly, for an old resort town. Missed the turning out of town so ended up continuing on the relatively busy coast road and then, once I realised, heading across country on designated 'Quiet Lanes'. I don't know what these are, technically, but they are signposted with pride and certainly lovely and quiet indeed.

After coffee at Mundesley I deserted the national cycle route for a spot of Broads. Now in truth it's hard to get near a Broad on bike, as there aren't really many roads to choose from, and only the very fast A-roads actually cross the water. Nonetheless I had a nice time pootling some heavily boatie villages and plenty of pretty lanes that looked quite a lot like Holland/Cambridgeshire.

My random historic find of the day (it seems to be the way of this trip) is St Benet's Abbey. Once the centre of trade and power in this area, it was - uniquely - not closed down by Henry VIII. It didn't last much longer though, and as usual the stone was soon taken for building material. The gatehouse still stands, sort of, though in the 18th century someone did build a windmill in and around it. The Abbey is still technically part of the Bishop of Norwich's domain so he holds a service there (ie in a field with some historic stones in it) once a year. You've got to love the multilayered history of East Anglia. 

The latter section of the day was rather head down as I used a moderately inadequate map to cut east back to the coast, while trying to avoid the biggest of busy roads. It gradually became more suburban and I emerged into Great Yarmouth. This is a pretty big town for these parts, and has a fairly rough reputation (according to Vic). The only but I have seen this far is the seafront which is one lovely long sandy beach, and even a bit sunny.  It also has clean, pleasant, central ensuite B&B for £23. Can't complain about that.

Finally, can I just mention a rather amazing thing? When travelling by train and bike in East Anglia (albeit only with booked tickets, which I do not have), the train people will, for free, come and rescue you and bring you to a train station if your bike breaks down or gets nicked. Isn't that nice of them?

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