Day 11 – Gillingham to Fakenham
Another day of good riding, mostly on quiet country lanes. Cool and cloudy in the morning, but it cleared in the afternoon and by the end of the day it was perfect for riding without a jacket.
Our route took us via Norwich where we stopped at a large bar by the river for coffee. The bar was surprisingly full for 11:00am, mostly people in their twenties downing beer.
From Norwich we rode on Marriott’s railway trail, a 26 mile cycling and walking path created from two abandoned rail lines. It is mostly unpaved, but except for the last few kms, the surface is good.
After writing yesterday about how difficult it is to get Sustrans cycle maps, who should we meet on Marriott’s way but two Sustrans volunteers trying to make cyclists more aware of what they offer. We had a good chat.
We’re staying in Fakenham at The Bull, a friendly pub and B&B that we hope won’t be too noisy on a long weekend Saturday night.
Day 12 – Fakenham to Holbeach
We slept well.
Good weather in the first part of the morning then showers, and sunny again in the afternoon. Our route fit the weather: we started on country lanes, but took the more direct main highway in the middle part of the day, stopping in King’s Lynn for coffee, then finished on quiet country roads as the sun reappeared.
Holbeach is a small town we picked because it is on the route and makes a reasonable cycling day. Many of our overnight stops will be similar, places that are not tourist destinations. But they show us a side of the country we might otherwise miss, and the day of riding, experiencing the shape, look, weather and smells of the country, is more the point of our trip than the towns we stay in.
We are seeing some wildlife in the countryside: hares, rabbits and many birds. Pheasants are everywhere, but they aren’t road smart; we’ve seen too many colourful feathers in squashed lumps on the road. There are also deer, but the only one we’ve seen was road-kill.
We found ourselves “on the verge” today. At home that usually means on the edge of something dangerous: on the verge of losing it, on the verge of getting caught. Here the verge is the grassy bit beside the road, a spot we chose today for a picnic lunch on a quiet road.