Hull to Hornsea - Eastern England - CycleBlaze

June 4, 2018

Hull to Hornsea

a train from Lincoln

"If anywhere is the end of England and the end of land it's Hull and beyond Hull."  John Betjeman

Last night I sifted through the bags of clothing scattered on the floor in the room I'm sleeping in at my friend Dave's house a few miles out of Lincoln. A yellow PVC raincape from eBay seems a bit OTT and heavy, so instead I've packed a red waterproof jacket, also an eBay purchase. I also pack a couple of maps along with a small amount of clothing. 

Bridge at Lincoln station
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It's about a 15 minute ride to the train station and after arriving at  8:30, there's more than enough time for me to get a coffee in the station's empty cafe. It's strong. I have just paid 15 quid for a one-way ticket to Hull and the train departs at 9.07.

My panniers get left on the bike as I squeeze it trough the train's door and wheel it into the small storage space. The train is pretty crowded with people commuting to work, but many get off at Newark, a quarter of an hour down the line.

On the train
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In the Starbucks in Doncaster station I charge one of my three camera batteries while waiting for my connection to Hull and it's almost noon when I get off there and see the sky is overcast.

I wheel the bike across a busy road and then walk through the pedestrianized center, stopping at a charity shop where a few quid gets me a decent pair of creamy Nike pedal-pushers that'll come in useful on or off the bike.

The center itself looks a bit sad with more than enough vape suppliers, betting shops and money lenders. Unemployment is an issue here. I buy a few small oranges from a street stall and make my way to the old section of town, where a few streets are narrow and cobbled.

An old street in Hull
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Abolitionist William Wilberforce's old house is now a museum and I take a quick snap in the front garden before walking along where the warehouses back onto a wharf. 

There are props strung along the kerb - old barrels, wooden crates, bulky suitcases and porters' barrows - to lend a bit of atmosphere to the area, like it's a film set. There are a few alleys leading down towards the water that are paved with shiny, time-worn cobbles.

A statue of William Wilberforce outside his home - now a museum
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There are only 30-odd kilometres to ride to Hornsea, but with the weather looking iffy it seems best to head off early.

My general direction to Hornsea is northeast and there's a disused rail line all the way there that's now a bike path. It's just a matter of finding the thing.

I ride along a busy road that seems to be going the right way - north - but my compass it tells me this is east. A few people point me in the general direction and eventually I find it.

The surface isn't paved like I thought it would be. It's a bit muddy and my wheels bump along for quite a while. Strangely my compass is still pointing east. Weird. I keep going.

On a bike path - shame it's the wrong one
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I reach a sign but it doesn't mention Hornsea.

A man out walking his dog comes along so I ask him where I am and he says Hedon is quite close and we look at my map and see this is a different disused rail line. The one I want is miles away. Who would have thought they'd be two in Hull? Not me.

I ride into Hedon and do a loop as I'm still working out which way to go. It looks like a nice village, but I don't hang around as it's 2:30 now and I have a way to go - my A-to-B distance hasn't actually been reduced yet.

There's not much choice but a busy sort of road for a while. The good news is it's easy to get to Burton Constable, a stately home that had been a possible spot to visit. Now it is more on my route.

The road taking me north  - the B1240  - goes through a village called Preston before veering a bit east to Sproatley and it's 3-ish when the turn-off to the long drive to the stately house appears on my left. It's dotted with sheep shit. The grounds are huge and were designed by England's famous landscaper, 'Capability' Brown.

Heading up the drive to a stately pad called Burton Constable
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It looks like rain will fall any minute as my tyres crunch up the long gravel drive.

The impressive Elizabethan house isn't open at the moment and I just make my way to the stable block where there's a cafe. The toilets are accessed through an adjacent main stable which is the size of a football pitch. 

After a pot of tea and some soup, there's steady drizzle in the air outside and my lightweight jacket and cotton hat have got a bit damp. I hang out in one of the stables for a while hoping it'll blow over

Waiting out the drizzle in the stables
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From here it's easy to find the bike path because I'd zoomed in on Google Maps during my research and also looked at the street view. 

There's a lane off the B road and it turns a couple of times and eventually takes me to a spot that intersects a cycle path. A wooden sign confirms it. Hornsea isn't too far away. The path is paved and is part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

Riding along a lane towards the right bicycle path
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A man behind the bar in a Hornsea pub that does B&B tells me they're fully booked, but I'm not disappointed as the place smells of smoke. I just ride through town and head to the coast to find a B&B. It takes me a few minutes, that's all.

It's about 5:00 PM when I see the sea. It looks pretty dismal, with a man walking a dog along the damp sand. Apart from them it's deserted.

The beach at Hornsea
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Hornsea used to have a pottery which made decorative ware that was quite popular in the late 1950s. I have a few pieces of it. The two brothers who began the company started from a simple house near the beach and I get a room in a B&B just a few doors down from it. There's a decent bathroom and it's just 30 quid including breakfast.

As the landlord instructs, my bike gets parked in the dining room, resting against the table in the bay window.

Across the road is a pub called Marine, which has old railway posters on the walls and I sit and enjoy a view of the seascape, even though it's grey.

Back in my room I lay and watch the TV on the wall and discover a programme called Love Island. Weird.

My £30 room in the seafront B&B
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Today's ride: 38 km (24 miles)
Total: 153 km (95 miles)

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