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Index : Camping and Touring Tales, and Travel Blogs : Nine Days in Norfolk Part 3 - by Tigermouse

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Nine Days in Norfolk Part 3

UKCampsite.co.uk member Tigermouse relates the tale of her camping trip in Norfolk - Days 5 to 6

Day 5 - Wednesday

The weather when I woke that morning was a complete contrast to the previous couple of days - clear blue sky and sunshine, and hardly a cloud. The sun was shining onto the side of the van, and even with the curtains and blinds closed and the window slightly open it was very warm, so I got out of bed before I was in danger of becoming cooked. I didn't need to ponder on where I was going to go when I went out - wanting to stay fairly local for once I decided to go back to Filby and photograph some of the lovely flowers I'd seen on my initial approach to California, then spend some time on the beach with the dogs. I put my camera batteries on charge, took Sophie and Sugar for their first walk of the day, then had a leisurely breakfast outside the awning in the sunshine. There were two vacant pitches on the far side of my van and four vacant pitches between the awning and the next occupied pitch, so I felt rather like I was on a green island - it was nice though to be able to dine outside without being overlooked by the side window of the next caravan. With breakfast under my belt, the washing up done and everything tidied away, I put the batteries back into the camera, loaded the dogs in the back of the van and set off, keeping metaphorical fingers crossed that the lovely weather wouldn't suddenly break down on me.

Filby isn't that far from California and it's even less distance when you know the short cuts, so it didn't take long to get there. I drove to the far end of the village and parked up at Filby Bridge car park next to one of the smaller Broads. It's actually called Ormesby Small Broad, but I've always thought of it as Filby Broad because, well, it's in Filby! At the end of the car park, and by the water's edge is a pub, the name of which escapes me for the moment, and a wooden jetty partially overgrown with reeds and with a dozen or so numbered rowing boats moored alongside. There didn't seem to be anyone out on the water though, in fact apart from half a dozen swans swimming some distance away there was no sign of life anywhere.



Collecting the dogs from the back of the van I set off on my flower photography mission. Approaching the village from the Acle direction there is a road sign which proclaims Filby as a lovely place to be - this is certainly no lie, and if the village has never entered the Britain In Bloom competition then the villagers should seriously think about taking part sometime. The flower displays are truly lovely, and I make no apologies for posting several photos on here.











I walked the length of the village from one end to the other and back, and everywhere I looked my vision was assaulted by the riot of colour on display. I have often thought that if I were to lose one of my senses then my sight would be the one I would really hate to be without - I love flowers and I just can't imagine not being able to appreciate such colourful displays as these.

By the time I had got almost back to my starting point I was feeling quite hot and thirsty, so I made a slight detour into the village general store-cum-post office and got a chilled can of Coke which I drank when I got back to the van, then after giving the dogs a drink of water I set off back to the site. After having a bit of lunch and an hour or so relaxation, I clipped the leads on the dogs, and leaving the van where it was I set off on the second part of my day.

One of my favourite walks is from the site up to Hemsby Gap by way of the avenues at Scratby and the cliff top and dunes, then back along the beach, and that's the way I was heading. There are some lovely houses and bungalows along the cliff top - I've often thought I would like to live there if I could afford it, but there are so many nice properties I would be spoilt for choice. Many years ago a lot of these properties started life as nothing more than square wooden chalet-type dwellings with odd bits added on here and there - some of them were really quaint and fascinating - but over the years they have been rebuilt and extended upwards and outwards to become the proper houses and bungalows they are today. About half way between Scratby and Hemsby, where the cliff top end and the dunes begin, is a couple of rows of quaint fishermens' cottages, one row set at a ninety degree angle to the other. The concrete lane through the dunes starts there, and on either side are wooden chalets. The land on the left rises quite steeply and the chalets are built up on stilt-like timber frames, while many of the chalets on the right are tucked away in the dunes themselves. Some of these are holiday homes but many are lived in permanently - if it's possible to call something like this 'cute' then many of them are, and they have long been a source of fascination for me. I would love to be able to go into some of them and have a look round.

When I reached Hemsby Gap itself I treated myself to an ice cream from the van which is always parked on the beach then set off back in the direction I'd come from. Once I'd got away from the Gap area itself I let the dogs off the lead so they could explore as much as they wanted.



In an effort to try and get Sophie to swim I spent some time throwing stones into the sea but she wasn't falling for that one and only went in just enough to get her feet wet. In complete contrast though, Sugar swims like a fish and will retrieve stones all day long. And if she can't find the stone I threw in she will search underwater till she finds a suitable alternative - often so big she can hardly carry it - and bring it back for me.









So while Sugar was busy retrieving stones Sophie was quite happy pottering about at the water's edge, and it was in this way we made progress along the beach till we reached the path back up to the site. On arriving back at my pitch I re-parked the van, attached the awning, made something to eat and looked forward to a relaxing evening with my laptop and UKCS.

Day 6 - Thursday

Well it was another glorious morning and another breakfast outside - I could quite easily get used to this al fresco dining if our British weather stayed nice enough for long enough. After coffee and toast and a quick tidy up in the awning - not that it was untidy anyway - I consulted the map book for ideas on where to go for my day. I did have thoughts of going to north Norfolk and the area round Blakeney, Wells and Holkham but felt it was a little too far, so I took the middle ground and opted for Cromer. I had only been there once before, several years ago, so felt it was time I paid a return visit. The route was very simple - from California through Ormesby and onto the A149, passing through Potter Heigham, Stalham and North Walsham and on into Cromer. At Stalham I did a slight detour and went to Sainsbury's to get some diesel - running out of fuel miles from anywhere wasn't something I wanted to risk.

It was after I left Stalham that I rounded a bend and spotted a possible opportunity for a photograph - a vast straw-coloured field sloping gently upwards to the skyline and dotted with huge round bales of hay, or maybe straw. It just reminded me of an American prairie, though on a smaller scale. Now I may not have been driving that long but I have become quite proficient at whipping my large mpv round in relatively small laybys so that's what I did, and went back to take a couple of shots. After turning the van round a second time I continued on my way.



Arriving in Cromer I followed the signs through the town for the beach and promenade, but if I was hoping to park on the road by the promenade gardens I had no chance - it was Cromer Carnival Week, the place was heaving with visitors and every available parking space was occupied. I had to drive a distance up the road to where there was a big car park on the cliff top and then walk back. Last time I went to Cromer I was struck with how picturesque the promenade gardens were and I got a few nice photographs, but this time things didn't look as nice - there was a distinct lack of flowers and plants and the fountain wasn't working, so I didn't feel it was worth taking any shots. I wandered over to the seaward side of the promenade instead and took a couple of shots overlooking the beach, then went to have a look round a few shops before going down onto the lower promenade and the beach itself.





After looking round the shops I took a narrow alley heading in the direction of the sea and came out on an intermediate part of the promenade, overlooking a steeply sloping concrete slipway where several fishing boats on trailers were sitting at the bottom.



There was a cafe on the corner with tables outside, so I ordered coffee and cake and sat out in the sunshine to watch the world go by. Anyone would think I live off coffee and cake - I don't, in fact I very rarely eat cake at home, but I like to treat myself when I'm away and coffee and cake is my one indulgence. Maybe I should set myself a challenge - to eat my way round England, having coffee and cake in every place I visit! After satisfying the inner woman with chocolate fudge cake and cream I went down the nearby slope to the bottom level of the promenade and walked to the far end as far as the row of beach huts.



On the way back I mentally counted all the old tractors used to pull the fishing boats up and down the beach - there were twenty, and with the exception of one which was a David Brown they were all Fordson Majors. Now you probably wouldn't expect a woman to know one tractor from another, but vintage tractors are one of my hobbies and I own and drive two Fordsons. These particular tractors weren't in as good a condition as mine though - some had the rear wings missing, wheels were pitted with rust, bonnets bent out of shape and front cowlings were more hole than tinwork, but given the nature of their use none of that is surprising.



After spending some time studying the tractors - sad, aren't I? - I walked up the slipway, turned left at the top and onto the cliff top path, heading back in the opposite direction. The path makes an uphill but very pleasant walk, bordered on one side by flowering bushes along the cliff edge and on the other by the fences of peoples' private back gardens. Where the houses end the path opens up into a large and very pleasant green area with a couple of benches where out-of-breath walkers can sit and recover from their exertions. I was heading for the lighthouse but it seemed to be further away than I first thought, so I decided to sit for a while and let the dogs explore their surroundings. And that was where my camera batteries gave up the ghost - for once I had no spares so being unable to take any more photos, and also conscious of the time I had left on my car park ticket, I thought I may as well head back to the van. The sky had clouded over a bit while I was down on the beach but it didn't last long and the sun had come out again warmer than before, so on my way back along the promenade I got myself a can of Coke from a little gift shop and drank it while I was walking along.

Back at the car park I got chatting to the couple whose car was parked next to mine - they had a cute, scruffy little terrier which I could quite easily have brought home - and I found out that I wouldn't have needed to walk too much further along the cliff path before I came to the lighthouse. But being unable to take any more photos would have rendered the exercise pointless anyway, so I made a mental note of that for a return visit, settled the dogs safely in the back of the van, and headed back towards California.

This article has the following linked sections

Nine Days in Norfolk
A UKCampsite.co.uk Member's wonderful tale of a camping trip in Norfolk told in words, and a visual treat of photographs.
Nine Days in Norfolk Part 2
A UKCampsite.co.uk Member's wonderful tale of a camping trip in Norfolk told in words, and a visual treat of photographs.
Nine Days in Norfolk Part 4
A UKCampsite.co.uk Member's wonderful tale of a camping trip in Norfolk told in words, and a visual treat of photographs.
Nine Days in Norfolk Part 5
A UKCampsite.co.uk Member's wonderful tale of a camping trip in Norfolk told in words, and a visual treat of photographs.

Index : Camping and Touring Tales, and Travel Blogs : Nine Days in Norfolk Part 3 - by Tigermouse



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