The EA Hairy Biker is a 9 day cycle through East Anglia and the venues Eastern Angles have played as well as the places the plays have been about. Part I of day 8 can be read here.
Having left the Rev Davidson gently resting in his grave I headed inland towards Walsingham where the various faith groups compete for shrine space, and individual houses vie to out do each other with religious ephemera. To the east of the small village is the High Anglican church of St Mary. It was here that one fireworks night Eastern Angles blew the ornate organ sky high (The Walsingham Organ). Given that, I’m surprised they let me in, still the organ looks in a decent enough state despite its trauma.
From there I needed to push on to catch up with Pat at the Granary Theatre, Wells. Chatting with Pat was a reminder at just how much of Eastern Angles success relied on the energy, passion and enthusiasm of our promoters – many of whom have been working with us for years and years. Our wide ranging chat over a very welcome cup of tea covered everything from wind farms to audiences, from exciting lottery funded building plans to the pros and cons of NT Live and the like. If you’re in Wells at the end of July the Turn of the Screw looks unmissable.
I’ve always been fond of Wells and as always was sorry to leave. My legs were especially sorry as they knew that, with the time the wrong side of 3pm, I still had 35 miles to go before reaching Kings Lynn. By now my knees were reacting to each Norfolk hillock as if I were about to face Mount Kilimanjaro and that’s precisely when I made the fatal error!
Just outside of Wells I passed a sign post for Hunstanton and Kings Lynn. Hunstanton was pretty much half way between Wells and Kings Lynn. I lept on the fact with alarming haste. Hunstanton would be my staging post -my half way point and to hell with the National Cycle Network I was going by the quickest route possible.
Now nestling in my trouser pocket was a map which, had I bothered to consult, would have shown me that well before Hunstanton the NCN route veers off inland towards Sandringham, thus cutting the corner. I even noticed the Sandringham signs around Holme but even then I didn’t bother to check. NCN 1 was safer and shorter and idiot me took the B roads. We havent had one of these for a while but this seems like an appropriate time for another rule of the long distance cyclist (in this case rule 6)
Rule six – take a map. use it. Use it even more especially when you’re tired
And was the diversion (as we shall now politely call it) worth it.
To be fair I wasn’t in Hunstanton long enough to judge. Mind when I arrived (around six pm) even the arcades and the sea side chippie was shut. I shared the promenade with a handful of people – a courting couple, a pair of dog walkers in motorised chairs and a group of friends heading for a night out. I munched on stocks wisely purchased in Brancaster and stared out to sea for the final time. Which reminds me rule seven.
Rule 7 – bananas, chocolate and energy drinks are your best friends – especially when your body says no more
Having thoroughly ignored rule 6 and not having the Cambridge map I was now on my own with the voice of Google maps. It was obvious from the start we weren’t going to be a marriage made in heaven! High vis on (so glad I packed it) navigator google took me out of Hunstanton on the A149 for 6.5 miles. You can imagine what fun that was. But even more fun was on its way.
With a huge sigh of relief I followed instructions and headed down a farm track rather grandly called Station Road, exchanging niceties with a passing tractor driver on the way. About half an hour in Google navigator pipes up ‘in two hundred yards turn left’. That will be left past the ‘Sandringham Estate – private keep out’ sign then? I double and triple check. Whichever way I turn Google wants me heading that way.
I bite the bullet, dreaming up my excuses, incase I bump into HM round the next corner. I’m brought back to reality with a volley of gun fire, and then another and another. I chastise myself internally for still having my high vis on! Too late now I think. If I am trespassing, and I’ve been spotted taking it off now would be tantamount to an admission of guilt. On I ride as the gun fire fades (though my appearance sets a lot of long legged hares running).
My moment of treasonous trespass seems to go on for ever but thankfully I eventually emerge into the village of Wolferton (once home to the Royal Station). Almost immediately though google wants me to turn left past another private sign. Much to Mr Google’s repeated annoyance I decline and instead opt for the delights of the A149 again.
Thankfully after no more than 10 minutes I pick up the Sandringham Railway Path for an easy, off road glide into an eerily quiet Kings Lynn.
Somewhat unsurprisingly I collapse into my room above a pub. Sleep comes very quickly!