I’d never really explored North Norfolk properly by bike, but I was here for four days with my friend Mark to remedy that. After a thunderous storm in the afternoon, the evening was glorious, and we cycled from Heacham to Hunstanton along the promenade, past the beach huts.
It was right on high tide, and the waves lapped up against the edge of the concrete path. As my anti-waste-plastic campaigner chums would say, it’ll all come out in the Wash.
We dined on fish and chips on Hunstanton’s central green, complemented by a bottle of Pilgrim Pale Ale from Barsham Brewery – a local beer, ‘brewed in collaboration with the Walsingham Shrine’.
I’m not sure how much our gentle two-mile waterside trundle counted as a pilgrimage. But as I read in a recent article on the Cycling UK website – so it must be true – any journey can count as a cycling pilgrimage, so long as there’s a degree of reflection involved, and a feeling of coming out changed at the end.
I don’t know how much I trust the writer though. Because it was me.
Whatever, we certainly enjoyed our al fresco dinner.
A short way up the coast is the old lighthouse, evidently the world’s first with a parabolic reflector, in 1776 – a fact perhaps overlooked in the context of other world events that year. Hunstanton is clearly a place of superlatives: its green boasts what describes itself as Britain’s Biggest Joke Shop.
Hunstanton is unique among the Norfolk coastal resorts in that it faces west, so is the place to come for sunsets. We sat at the foot of the brightly coloured lighthou… – er, helter skelter – by the funfair.
Actually, adding spiral slides to lighthouses – and perhaps a gaudy paint job – sounds a splendid way of perking them up, and would make Bring Your Daughter To Work Days rather more attractive.
We watched the sun dip below the washy horizon and desserted on that traditional Norfolk delicacy, Portuguese custard tarts, before scooting back in the twilight.