Wednesday, 28 February 2007

7. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Details:- A largely town based walk from the railway station along the South Quay to the mouth of the River Yare, and then along the full length of the sea front through Caister, and on to Calfornia, where I turned inland to Ormesby St Michael, and Ormesby Broad, before catching a bus back to the town centre. Distance:- 15 miles; Time Taken:- 4.25 hours; Avg Speed:- 3.53 mph; Going:- It rained most of the way around. Map:- OS Explorer OL 40; Progress:- walked 84 - 416 to go. Photographs Hyperlink

Scroby Sands Wind Farm

Scroby Sands is one of the UK's first commercial offshore wind farms. Commissioned in March 2004 the £75million project generated enough energy to supply over 36,000 homes in 2005, saving the emission of over 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, nearly 600 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and nearly 200 tonnes of nitrous oxide.The first annual report into the performance reported that last year, 27 intermediate speed and 12 high speed gearbox bearings needed replacing, along with four generators. As a result there were "serious implications for resources, costs and downtime". However the wind farm still generated 153GWh, which is around 90% of its forecast annual output. I say - nice work!

Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth.

The speculation in Yarmouth at present is about guessing where they will build the newly promised Casino. I suppose there's no prize for guessing whether or not there will be a Gamblers' Anonymous helpline set up in the town, - of course there will - run entirely on voluntary contributions no doubt. Is it only me - or are there not are enough diddler machines in Great Yarmouth already - why on earth, let alone in Great Yarmouth, do we need more? The old fashioned image of the casino where the rich go to blow their excess cash just doesn't fit this traditional kiss-me-quick seaside resort. Scrap the casino I say!

This Rig Supply Boat...

...was reversing out of the harbour because the river is too narrow for turning, There are plans for an outer harbour to ease the congestion, and allow larger ships to dock. But I think they'll need to dual the A12 before Yarmouth sees any major renaissance.

California, Norfolk....

...and there are so many references to California along the East Anglian Coast. I've seen place and street names in Woodbridge, Southwold - where there is also a Klondyke beach, and here north of Gt Yarmouth. My brother, Bob, who has studied the history of the longshore fishing industry, says they are indeed a reference to the gold rush in 1849. It's just curious that there are so many of them.

North Quay...

This door has six letter boxes! I only wonder if there are six cages fixed to the other side, or whether all the post piles up in one heap on the doormat anyway! The little white sign says:- Flat One Knock Once; Flat Two Knock Twice; Flat Three Knock Three Times; & Flat Four Knock Four Times. It doesn't say about Flats Five & Six.

Notice On Caravan....

.....There are large caravan sites north of Gt Yarmouth with literally thousands of caravans. There have obviously been break-ins, because some of them have notices like this placed in the window. Is my thinking squiffy, only I consider this demonstrates a lack of understanding about thug mentality. Surely the vandalism is mostly wanton; and often entirely unconnected with burglary. As well as nick stuff, they also just want to smash things up, and get up your nose Mr & Mrs Caravan Owner whilst they do it. Sticking a sticker up will only encourage them to smash your window and door, even if there are no valuables inside. Well anyway that's my take on it.

At Ormesby St Michael there are lovely views of Ormesby and Rollesby Broad from the main road. Suddenly to left and right these breathtaking glimpses across large expanses of reed fringed water loom into view. Only on this occasion I was late for my bus and I didn't have time to walk up there to take the picture. Instead The Borrower has lived up to his name and lifted this photo of Barton Broad from another site! It approximates more or less the view at Ormesby.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

6. Halesworth, East Suffolk.

Details:- A solo walk, mostly on roads, from Halesworth Station north to Holton, where there has been the outbreak of bird-flue, and then onto the hamlet of Mill Common, before returning to Halesworth. Distance:- 13 miles; Time Taken:- 3.5 hours; Avg. Speed:- 3.7 mph. Going:- very muddy off road (see photo); Map:- OS Explorer 231; Progress:- Walked 69 - 431 to go. Photographs Hyperlink.

An Unusual & Slightly Sinister Reason For Footpath Closure....

....but entirely understandable. The debate in the national press mostly concerns the mystery of the origin of this outbreak. But a far greater worry is where does it go from here. DEFRA are sufficiently anxious about the 'flu mutating into a human variety to health check all those in close contact with this outbreak in Suffolk. My reading suggests that such a mutation is inevitable, but that it will probably occur in Asia, probably Indonesia, where bird 'flu is now endemic in the poultry flocks, and where no action is being taken to destroy the infected birds. Consequently workers in the industry are increasingly falling victim to the disease; it is in one of these people that the 'flu strain is likely to mutate. The advice goes on to say that in the event of the strain mutating one third of the UK population will become infected, and 60,000 will die from it. Chilling or what....?! The Bernard Matthews website has amongst it's FAQ'a:- What is avian flu? It is a disease which usually only affects birds' Hmmm.

Bernard Matthews Turkey 'Farm', Holton.

It seems all the more remarkable then that Bernard Matthews have been allowed to re-open their on-site factory for turkey processing only a few days after the outbreak, when they don't know how the 'flu strain arrived. Let's hope those government inspectors know what they are doing!

Friday, 9 February 2007

5. Castle Acre, West Norfolk.

Details:- This was another walk with the Norfolk & Suffolk Long Distance Walkers Assoc.; this one led by Neil Cordell. Some sixteen members from as far afield as Cambridge and Maldon took part. We went west from Castle Acre along the Nar Valley Way almost to Narborough; then south as far as Beachamwell, where we stopped for lunch, and finally north and east back to Castle Acre. Distance:- 20 miles in 6.5 hours, with a half hour so of break time. Avg. Speed:- 3.33 mph. Going:- mostly pretty good; Map:- OS Explorer:- No. 236; Progress:- Walked 56 - 444 to go. Photographs Hyperlink.

Competition Walking:- Long distance walkers use these social walks in order to get in training for 50 or 100 mile walk competions. Such members don't hang about; one was carrying a very heavy rucksack to improve her performance. I'm told that others go hill walking to achieve their peak of fitness. Whichever, they look pretty lean and mean and ready for the big one. Me - I'm not tempted; a twenty six-miler is enough to satisfy my ambitions.

Somewhere in West Norfolk.

Walking West Norfolk:- It's not unattractive countryside. The hallmarks are prairie like fields interspersed with large areas of woodland. It rolls a bit, but not much. There were two or three lovely buildings (see pics), particularly Castle Acre Priory.

Castle Acre Priory

Castle Acre Priory:- This is managed by English Heritage, and they charge £4.50 to check it out. It dates originally from, but in the C16th was knocked for six by the destructive Henry VIII. The ruins span seven centuries and include a 15th century gatehouse, a 12th century church with an elaborate west front, a prior's lodging still fit to be lived in, and his private chapel.

Vernacular Architecture - Clunch.

Clunch is a soft limestone used for building; it is still used in parts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and is also found in West Norfolk. In this instance the flank wall has been renewed or at least cleaned recently. Brick is used for the corners and edges, because the clunch will in itself not afford a hard enough edge. Because it is soft it carves well, and is good for internal decoration - churches etc. External use of clunch is prone to deterioration.