Last Saturday I did a ‘test ride’ for my next cycling adventure – visiting and photographing all the historic churches of Norfolk. I set off early morning to make sure I was back home in time to enjoy the finish of the Olympic Men’s Road Race and hopefully see Mark Cavendish sprint to Gold medal success – I should have taken my time! But see my next blog from the Olympic Time Trial.
I’d planned a circular ride, starting with my home church of St John the Baptist, Aylmerton, heading north to Beeston, east through Cromer and out along the coast to Trimingham, then turning inland through Trunch to the outskirts of North Walsham, west through Erpingham before finally heading north, through Alby and Roughton, to home. I visited 22 churches in total and covered 42 miles in a time of about five and a half hours. Lessons learned on this first outing:
* Always take a back up camera – first, my battery started to die and then my lens broke! Fortunately I was within the last few miles and I could amend the route and revisit the missed churches without too much effort. That wouldn’t be the case if I was down on the Suffolk border.
* There are many fewer cafes in remote rural Norfolk than there were on our John O’Groats to Land’s End epic, so take a flask and a supply of flapjack!
* If you start off too early, many of the churches are still locked. Actually I was surprised at the number that were open later in the day – it’s nice to be able to see inside as well as snap the exterior.
* It’s surprising how easy it is for churches to ‘hide’ once you get into the villages – so I need to research the route more carefully to avoid constantly getting the map out.
* Unlike the End2End rides, it only a couple of miles between each stop – this is a different kind of cycle ride. Things will obviously change once I start visiting locations further from home though.
* I like it – it’s nice to be back on the bike and the prospect of visiting almost every community in Norfolk over the next few years excites me!
Here are a few of the photos I managed to salvage from the broken camera and a copy of the route. I hope you enjoy these excursions to the historic churches of Norfolk as much as I intend to!
Finally, a list of the churches visited:
Aylmerton, Beeston, West Runton, Cromer, Overstrand, North Repps, Sidestrand, Trimingham, Gimingham, South Repps, Trunch, Swafield, Bradfield, Antingham, Suffield, Colby, Erpingham, Calthorpe, Thwaite, Alby, Roughton and Metton.
If anyone out there has done a similar thing or can see that I’ve missed out on an historic church somewhere on my travels, do please leave a comment…See you next time.