Noel Hernandez deals with marshes and seals in the second part of his not-so-epic bicycle excursion
"There is nothing between here and the North Pole," announces Graham Bean from the front of his boat. And it certainly feels like that. At 9.45 am sailing around Blakeney Point, a nature reserve with common and grey seals and birds aplenty, the cold is almost unbearable.
I've religiously paid £9 for an hour-long boat trip from Morston Quay, an experience shared with children and elders who don't seem to mind the Arctic temperatures. Never mind, the fat mammals swimming close to the boat - I mean, the seals - make my trip worthwhile.
My physical state is not optimal after spending the previous evening sheltering from the rain at the King's Arms in Blakeney, drinking one too many local ales next to a couple with a passive-aggressive dog called Woolly. But I still managed to cycle a stretch of country road to Stiffkey - pronounced "stucky" by the locals.
If you take the time to check the prices of the properties in this beautiful town you might think you have ended up in Cannes or Montecarlo, instead of the humble Norfolk. Such is the level of gentrification or second-house syndrome that affects this coastal resort. But, as this is not my main concern, I enjoy my visit anyway.
Here comes a mistake, take note. I get down to the marshes after cycling through a long path between allotments and farms. There is a pathway that runs parallel to the sea and goes around a big part of the North Norfolk coast but, as my map clearly states, is not suitable for bicycles. I try anyway, only to get my wheels stuck in the mud once repeatedly, or swallowed by gravel alternatively.
Square one again and a black coffee at the Red Lion pub to reconsider my situation. This time I follow my map and I ride through proper cycling routes to Lanham, passing by scattered warehouses, deserted RAF shelters and industrial pig farms - not an idyllic backdrop but nevertheless enjoyable.
And from now on comes the best part of my journey, an approximately four-mile downhill ride through tree groves, fields of yellow flowers and the occasional horse or free range chicken. All the way down to Cley again, but closer to the train station in Sheringham, where I finish my North Norfolk bicycle trip. Is there a better way to spend Easter weekend? I don't think so...
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Tired of trains and cars, Noel Hernandez explores seaside villages with a battered city bike
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