223.Cleethorpes to Saltfleet

 

The continued success of the England football team at the World Cup has delayed my return to Skye, which means I can fit in my one-dayer’s along the East coast.

I had planned an even longer walk for this section, but again Traveline came up with a few more surprises. I had hoped to finish the walk at the coastal resort of Mablethorpe, but on calling a number to “book” a seat on the bus service I was told the bus did not travel to the place indicated on Traveline. I re-thought my plans and came up with a shorter alternative. I had one eye on the weather and was slightly relieved to see spots of rain and an overcast sky on the drive to Lincolnshire from Shropshire.

I drove to and parked at the small village of Saltfleet, I then took the #50 bus towards Grimsby and got off at Old Clee. I then hopped on a #7  bus that took me to about a mile from the pier at Cleethorpes. The sky remained quite grey and overcast, with a stiff breeze which was good walking weather. After buying a coffee and a sausage bap from a cafe on the sea front I set off along the promenade. I could see many ships out on the Humber. The walking was very easy and in no time I had arrived at Tetney Marshes.

From this point onwards I would be on the Sea Wall – a dyke or levee with a grassy footpath on its top.I had only gone about an 100m before I noticed a Stoat/Weasel bounding towards me. I froze still and the animal came towards me. It passed within 2ft from shoe,  before disappearing into the undergrowth. I did think about getting my camera out, as I did not want to scare it and the encounter only lasted 20 -30 seconds. I re-ran the event in my mind and could not remember to look out for the distinctive black spot on the tail which distinguishes the Stoat from a Weasel. I do however, remember its gait, which was an arched-back bound indicating the animal was probably a Stoat.   As I approached the bridge over the Louth Canal at Stonebridge, I could a small mobile drilling rig taking cores from the Sea wall. I hoped that I would not come across a dreaded footpath closed sign! Fortunately, there was no such sign and I continued on to Horse Shoe Point. Shortly after passing the car park at Horse Shoe Point I came across more construction work, this time the main work was  proceeding about a mile out on the sands. This was the land-fall for the cable from the Hornsea offshore wind farm, a  Project that I had passed by construction work on a number of other previous walks.

Walking the promenade out of Cleethorpes
Easy going at Humberstone Fitties
Crude oil pipeline
Drilling cores on the sea wall
Work at the landfall site for the Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm

As I approached the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve a series of fighter jets approached overhead in formation, wave after wave. In fact there were 27 of these Typhoon aircraft and to cap it all off the Red Arrows flew over me . It was not until I reached the Air Ground bombing range was I told that they were on their way down to London, for the fly past over Buckingham Palace. The person who told me about the RAF centenary celebrations was also the Rangemaster for the Air to Ground range. As it was flying a Red Flag I enquired about my onward route to Saltfleet, he advised me on a route which was absolute pants!! I set off along a  dead-end path, making a suggested turn inland around some buildings. I eventually got stuck between the Bombing Range and some unwelcoming GOML (Get Off My Land) signs . I decided to walk along the edge of the range to the next Control Tower. I could see it was manned but the guy inside did not come out. I opted to do a bit of trespassing  and finally gain the sea wall, which sits behind the range. In retrospect,with the Range active, I should have detoured inland. Contrary to the advice given there is no public ROW onwards along the shoreline, during firing.

I eventually reach the outskirts of Saltfleet, where the range boundaries ended. I chatted to a few people in the car park about the fly pass, they were quite annoyed to have missed it as they had watched it in their nearby caravan.

I continued onto Saltfleet Haven passing through purple swaths of Sea Lavender, which although very similar to “normal” grown Lavender has no smell.

I finished  the walk in the small village of Saltfleet.

Easy going towards Donna Nook
Zoomed shot across the bombing range out towards the North Sea
Sea Lavender beds at Saltfleet
Heading into Saltfleet at Saltfleet Haven

Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 3,978 miles

 

 

 

 

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222. Stallingborough to Cleethorpes

I’ve decided to sit tight at the moment and wait to see how England get on in the World Cup, which means delaying my return to Skye. Which meant I could get a shortish single day in on the east coast; although it was slightly shorter than even I expected.

The high temperatures the UK is currently experiencing meant I needed to get an early start, so I drove and parked at the carpark near to Cleethorpes railway station. Things did not go well on the drive up, as on a near deserted M180, some bloody lorry sent a lump of metal across the central reservation and onto my windscreen, resulting a small crack! It had only been three weeks since I had a new windscreen fitted! Anyway, on my return to Telford I managed to get one of the those localised repairs with resin, which mad the damage disappear.

I caught the 05:59 train from Cleethorpes to Stallingborough. It was lovely and cool as I set off up the road through the village. I turned off down  a lane before following a green lane alongside fields of wheat to my first objective, the village of Healing. I re-crossed the railway line at the level crossing and proceeded along other fields following The Nev Cole Way – still high-lighted in a marker pen! By the time I reached the outskirts of Grimsby at Great Coates, the sun was well up and getting very warm. I been accompanied by the constant din coming from the nearby A180, which was very busy. I think it was very loud due to the fact that it is a concrete dual carriageway, which generally givet very noisy tyre roar.

The best part of the day – early morning and approaching the village of Healing

I re-crossed the railway line again at Great Coates and headed into a large industrial estate. The next 8 or so miles, well the less said the better. I could think of many disparaging words about Grimsby, but I’ll refine my language to describe it as a run-down dump…….and thats putting it mildly!

After a bit of a detour around some of the worst of Grimsby’s suburbia I headed towards the Fish Docks in the hope of picking up a path along the shoreline. I passed a multitude of Young’s Fish processing plants only to be confronted by a locked gate. I was quite angry with myself as I had intentionally kept away from the industrial areas of Immingham and Grimsby because of the poor footpath routes through the area. I followed an exit sign along a road that actually went under the road I had just entered the docks on and taking me in the opposite direction I had come. The long and short of it was that I had just done an extra 4 miles in the searing heat for absolutely nothing! I was not happy.

I rejoined the main road to Cleethorpes and arrived back at the station. I intended to either walk out to Tetney Marsh and a get the bus back or take a #17 bus, and then walk back to Cleethorpes. It was a good job I did the latter as after waiting 40 minutes for a bus I double-checked the bus times which indicated that the ~17 only ran during school holidays. This was counter to what traveline and my timetable said.

I decided to call it quits and walked the short distance back to the car and drove home. My next section along this stretch will just have to be a bit longer. At least I will not have to come back to the dump that is Grimsby.

Victoria Flour Mill, now in Council hands, plans are underway to develop the site
Grimsby Dock Tower from the Fish Docks
I passed-by alot of these buidlings
At Cleethorpes looking across the Humber Estuary
The Pier at Cleethorpes

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance = 3,959 miles

 

 

219. Barton-on-Humber to Stallingborough

Well I’d finally bitten the bullet and bought a ‘decent’ camera. At over £200 it is the most I have ever spent on a camera. The compact digital  I bought can do lots of things, but I have it set to Intelligent Auto mode at the moment, which means  I can  just point and click. I’ll try to learn the other features as I go along. I had decided on just another single day out to the east coast, as I had been preoccupied in doing substantial structural repairs to my large garage roof over the last two weeks.

I would be heading east along the Humber Estuary which meant having to contend with a lot of industrial areas. I had read other reports of people confronted by high fences or blocked off paths around these areas  and so I looked to take a safe and trouble-free route. I could see from Google Street Maps that an Oil refinery, Power Station, Docks, Quays and other industrial premises prevented easy passage eastwards. There was also the A180, which although looking good as a direct route into Grimsby, was a high-speed dual carriageway without a verge in places. I opted therefore for a safer and more sedate inland route.

I drove to and parked in the Station car park at Barton-on-Humber. Because this was a Sunday I had decided to walk to my end-point and get a train back to Barton. I set off at 06:15 and immediately headed for the grassy footpath that continued eastwards along the Humber. Although it had rained the night before the grass was remarkably dry, which was good because I had only my walking trainers on. It was grey and overcast, with a occassional breeze, great walking weather.

As the Humber Bridge receded into the distance I came to my first physical obstacle, the small creek of Barrow Haven. A footpath, alongside the railway crossed the Creek. I then had to head through a large lumber yard. A Public Footpath finger-post pointed through the yard, but the main gate was padlocked. Fortunately there was a small pedestrian side-gate that I passed through. As this was a Sunday the yard was empty , but on a weekday I should image it would be quite busy.

My next obstacle was the industrial area of New Holland. Again the path turned inland and followed a fenced road towards the railway crossing and the docks/factory entrance. Again the main entrance gate was locked but a open side gate allowed access to walkers. I followed the pedestrian markings on the ground through the site. However, I came to another locked gate and wondered how I could proceed. Fortunately, I had missed a wooden footpath post 10m back, which lead me down an overgrown path back onto the shore.

I continued to follow the footpath, called the Nev Cole Path, although this seemed to have been written on the occasional marker post in a marker pen! As the Oil Refinery and docks drew closer I knew the point where I needed to move onto road approached. At East Halton Skitter I transferred onto a minor road, which I would be on for the next 5 or 6 miles. I had only gone half a mile down the road when I came across a dead snake on the side of the road. It was a grass snake and it had been run-over. The snake was well over 1 metre long and was probably a female. Only last month, on Skye, I had found a small Adder which had also been run-over.

Low tide at Barton Haven
Looking back at The Humber Bridge
Barrow Haven
Walking through the timber yard at Barrow Haven
On the “Nev Cole Way”
Hull waterfront
Female Grass Snake – road kill victim

I continued along a dead straight road through East Halton, North and South Killingholme. At South Killingholme, I could see a large amount of groundworks going on. One of the workers told me these were underground cables for a Wind Farm, which was obviously linked to the Hornsea Project One Wind farm – a huge and ongoing development.

I headed down a B road towards the small village of  Habrough. There was no footpath, but the verge was ok. I had previously decided to turn towards Immingham , but decided that I would continue into Habrough and head towards the railway line. I crossed over the busy A180 and could see that it was not safe to walk along. At Habrough station I popped into the nearby Station Inn for a quick pint of Bateman’s Centenary RAF Ale. I don’t normally drink during a walk, but as I had just 3 miles to go to the end of my walk, so I thought why not?

The last three miles of the walk was a good grassy footpath that lead in a dead straight line alongside the railway line all the way to the small village of Stallingborough. I had 15 minutes to wait for the train back to Barton-on-Humber.

Incongruous setting – North Killingholme Church against Power Station
Crossing the A180
Looking back at the Station Inn at Habrough
Looking across fields of wheat and the A180 towards Immingham Oil Refinery
On the path towards Stallingborough at the Goxton Sidings crossing against a moody Lincolnshire sky

Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance = 3,908 miles

 

218. Thorngumbald to Barton-on-Humber

A quick one day visit to the East Riding of Yorkshire. I am quite excited about this section as it will see me achieve a number of firsts and milestones. I would  be leaving Yorkshire and crossing over into Lincolnshire, as well as walking through Hull, a place I had never visited before. Perhaps the highlight would be the walk over the Humber Bridge, a bridge that I had never crossed over before this day.

I set off early and made excellent time to Barton-on-Humber, which sits just below the Humber Bridge on the Lincolnshire side. It is a sleepy little town and I was able to park close to the railway station. I caught the “Fast cat” #350 bus into Hull. The bus seemed to take an age as we had to keep on waiting to keep on time with the published timetable. I got off at Hull railway station, which is also where the main bus station is. I caught the #77 bus towards Withernsea, and sat on the front seats of a double-decker, something I had not done for years. I got off at the village of Thorngumbald and popped into the local Spar shop for a few supplies. I had to start at Thorngumbald because I was prevented from continuing along the seawall on my previous trip because of ongoing works. I picked up the quiet road to the village of Paull.

Close to Paull Holme Nature Reserve I passed a number of newly constructed gas installations, I could also see the work on the sea wall that had caused my diversion to Thorngumbald. The footpaths marked on my OS map have long since disappeared amid the high security fencing of the gas processing plants.  Soon after I left the road and I headed down a track which took me onto the seawall. I passed around the historic Fort Paull, the historic Napoleonic battery fortress which is now a museum and houses a huge Blackburn Beverley Aircraft (a former heavy-duty transport plane used by the RAF). I could see the huge tail fins of the aircraft, but nothing of the rest of the museum which was hidden by trees. I entered the small village of Paull and was surprised to see at least three pubs, very close to each other. I left the village and got onto the sea wall again. I met a dog walker and struck up a conversation with him, he was the former mayor of Hedon and he gave me a brief history of the area.

Work on the sea wall at Holme Paull
The old lighthouse at Paull
Iconic KCOM telephone kiosk

I reached the outer industrial area of Hull and began the long straight walk along the very busy A1033. I was separated from the dual carriageway, which had no verge and continued along the dual cycle/footpath. I passed a number of cream telephone kiosks which are a throwback from when Hull or should I say Kingston had its own independent municipal telephone network (now privatised).  I started to count roundabouts, as this was the only clue to know where I am and where I needed to get back to the Humber shore.  Shortly after passing HMP Hull I headed across the dual carriageway and onto a new shore side housing development, now on the site of former Victoria docks. I passed around a very striking building, similar to the prow of a large ship, this was the Deep a large aquatic centre. I passed through the old part of Hull, with its cobbled street and continued onto the Albert Dock.

I had to look carefully for a footpath that would take me onto the Albert Dock, which I managed to find. After crossing a lock gate I followed high palisade fencing that guided me through the docks and onto a high gantry where I was able to look down at the ships and quays. This was really great because most of the time I pass around docks I have had to keep to industrial roads, here I was able to walk  through on high. I kept on the path which was sandwiched between the docks and the estaury. The Albert Dock gave way to the St Andrews Quay, which is now a huge out-of-town retail park alongside the A63.

Where the “bad boys” go – HMP Hull
The Deep

The footpath became very overgrown with grass and ran alongside the A63 into the village of Hessle. I pick up the start of the Wolds Way and pass underneath the Humber Bridge. It was very busy in this area, with a small beach and the Humber Bridge Country Park. I had to climb quite steeply up through tree-lined paths to get onto the bridge itself. The sun which had been hidden behind clouds for most of the day now made an appearance. It seems the eastern footpath of the bridge was closed so I was confined to the western footpath. The bridge itself is a outstanding achievement in engineering and an impressive sight.  The bridge was very busy with walkers and cyclist alike, admiring the brilliant views. I reached the far side and entered Barton-on-Humber in Lincolnshire. A great days walk with the passage through the docks and the crossing of the Humber the two main highlights.

The Albert Dock
Heading along the Albert Dock
Wolds Way marker at Hessle
Underneath The Humber Bridge
Crossing the Humber
About mid-way across
Looking back
End of the line at Barton-on-Humber

Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance = 3,887 miles

 

 

214. Welwick Salt Marsh to Thorngumbald

I had become very complacent with all the fine weather we had been having recently, so much so, that I had decided to make an opportune one day visit to the East Riding of Yorkshire without checking the weather.  I left Shropshire at 04:00 and it was raining. As I set off the forecast was not good – heavy rain for most of the day. I was sorely tempted to turn around and go back to bed. However, I do not mind getting wet, especially if I am only doing a day’s walk and can return to the car, where a change of clothes would wait. What I didn’t consider was the days walk would be predominantly on the grassy sea wall and this was a Friday with all of the traffic problems that an impending Bank Holiday brings.

I needed to bridge a small gap in the local public transport so I took my bike along. I drove to and parked in the small village of Patrington, from there I got booted up and cycled the small distance to the neighbouring village of Welwick and then down a cul-de-sac lane towards the Humber. On the cycle down I passed a sculpture of a group of metal figures depicting the 4 main conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. Two of the plotters were John and Christopher Wright who hailed from nearby Plowlands Farm.

Sculpture of Gunpowder Plotters alongside the B1445

I chained up my bike to a post on Welwick Salt Marsh and set off down the sea wall. Within 10 minutes my boots and trousers were soaking wet. The lush grass on the sea wall was above my knees and in places up to my waist! It was also soaking wet. The rain had not abated and would be with me for the rest of the day. One of my first obstacles was to get over the Patrington Channel, one of the many drainage channels in this flat-lying, rich agricultural land. I had seen a short-cut on the map in the form of a building with a sluice gate spanning the channel. Normally these bridges/buildings do not allow people to cross and have measures to block any climbing around the barriers. Stupidly I decided to take a look which involved almost a mile of extra walking, which revealed as I expected, no way across at that point. I continued along the side of fields and emerged at a track which spanned the Channel and continued past Outstay Farm. I regained the grassy sea wall and continued west. I passed a marker indicating I was on the Greenwich Meridian, I continued along the sea bank into the Western Hemisphere.

I had little in the way of views, as the clag was down and I could not even see across the Humber to Lincolnshire. I could hear the dull thud of ships engines out in the estuary. One ship came into view, it was the Yasmine a roll-on/roll-off cargo ship arriving from Rotterdam. I was well and truly soaked to the skin on my lower half as I rounded Hawkins Point. My spirits were up though and I was keen to keep my phone, wallet and car keys dry – as I had stupidly left my rucksack dry sack at home! Doh! As I approached  Stone Creek I was surrounded by a magnificent display of Hawthorn blossom. I crossed over the Ottringham Drain and intended to continue along the grassy sea wall with a  public path towards the village of Paull. Unfortunately there was a footpath closure notice  pinned to the gate for a large section further up the path. There were no alternate  diversions and the notice advised using local roads.

I planned a route that would take me inland towards the village of Thorngumbald. I set off down the depressingly long straight roads in the pouring rain. I decided after about two miles to end my walk at Thorngumbald. The rain and my squelching boots did not help and I was getting to feel a bit pee’d off with my situation. I knew Thorngumbald sat on the A1033 and had regular buses between Hull and Withernsea, I did not have to wait long and caught the#77 bus service back to Patrington and my car. I felt sorry for the next person who sat on my vacated bus seat, as I left a large pool of rainwater on my seat.

Building across the Patrington Channel
Crossing the Greenwich Meridian
The grassy Sea Wall
The RO/RO cargo ship Yasmine arriving from Rotterdam
Crossing The Spragger – a drainage channel
Crossing the Ottringham Channel at Stone Creek
My route along the sea wall blocked
The long and unwinding road!

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance = 3,818 miles

 

213. Withernsea to Welwick Salt Marsh

I thought I would make good use of the fine weather to get a single days walk in on the east coast. Not being an ardent fan of Royal Weddings and again not receiving an invite, I left the happy couple to it!

I set off at 05:00 to drive to the East Riding of Yorkshire. I had two chores to do before I started walking, the first was to drop my bicycle off at Kilnsea and the second was to visit my auntie and uncle who live in a small village close to Withernsea.

It was a gloriously hot day when I arrived in Withernsea, I parked in the free car park close to Aldi and then set off down the promenade. High tide had occurred two hours before so I was soon able to get down on the beach and continue walking south. Again not much in the way of things to see when walking along the beach. I kept an eye out for the natural gas terminal at Easington, which is the processing point for the gas shipped from the Easington gas field some 47 miles offshore. I soon arrived at Kilnsea and bought an ice cream at a cafe. I transferred  back onto the road and picked up the bicycle I had left some hours before. My intention was to walk to the end of Spurn Head and then ride the bicycle back to Kilnsea.

Vintage photographs of yesteryear adorn boardings in Withernsea
The route ahead
Large net bags of shells acting as groynes
Arriving at Kilnsea, with WW2 ruins strewn across the beach

I set off down Spurn Head which was very busy. I passed over the “wash over” section which makes the lower section into a Tidal Island. The land  was quite narrow and you could see large areas, particularly at the southern tip, given over to military installations largely overgrown, some from the First World War. I walked to the tip of Spurn Head and joined a small group of people who had gathered there to gaze across the Humber estuary to Lincolnshire on the far side. For those that did not fancy the long walk there was a lorry people carrier that ferried people down the Spurn, at a price. I cycled back to Kilnsea, but there were a number of sections where the road had washed away and I was forced to push the bike again through the soft sand.

I arrived back in  Kilnsea and continued on foot pushing the bike. In retrospect I should have just left my bike there and caught a bus back to Withernsea and returned to pick the bike up. However, I continued along the grassy sea wall, pushing my bike. The grass was fairly long in places, which impeded progress to a small degree. I was aiming for Welwick Salt Marsh, where an access road from the village comes down to the estuary. I was certainly glad to see the Salt Marsh end point as I had underestimated the time taken and I still had the cycle ride back to the car at Withernsea. Still, walking down the length of The Spurn was the highlight of the days walk.

The “Wash Over” section on The Spurn
Remnants of the old military railway
A bulk carrier vessel passes Spurn Point
Looking across the Humber towards Lincolnshire at Spurn Point
Improvised people wagon operated by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Heading up the Humber Estuary along the grassy sea wall

Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance = 3,802 miles

 

Progress to Date

I thought it would be a good idea to have a visual representation of my progress to date in walking the coast of Great Britain. This is basically just a Google map of Great Britain with a red line indicating my progress, its rather crude, but does the job.

Just a few pieces of information:-

  1. Besides my main line of progress, which is currently in Ardnumurchan on the West coast of Scotland, there are two outliers,the first is my “second front” on the east coast and second, the Norfolk Coastal Path which I walked some years ago.
  2. For scaling reasons I cannot show the “Use of Ferries” sections in Devon/Cornwall/Dorset which I am currently walking when weather further north is not so good.
  3. I’ll up date the map every once in a while