Friday 8 May 2015
New Holland to Paull
Paull Holme Farm B&B
I knew it was going to be a long day so I set off as early as possible on a damp and misty morning, which meant packing my tent away damp. Unfortunately breakfast was a measly banana and some disgusting frangipane tarts from the local corner shop; I managed 2 and threw the 3rd to the birds. I felt slightly guilty at the thought of potentially poisoning the poor birds. The walk from New Holland to Barton Waterside is lovely, with the river on one side, old clay pits that are now flooded and a nature reserve on the other and, of course, the Humber Bridge looming larger with every step. Very peaceful when you block out the drone of traffic from across the river in Hull.
I walked through Barrow Haven Old Ferry Wharf, carefully avoiding all the forklift trucks carrying wood from the docked ship. By 10am the sun was out and I had arrived at the Barton Waterside Inn, which dates back to 1715 and was where the London stagecoach dropped its passengers to get the ferry across the Humber from Barton to Kessle. This is also the start of the Viking Way, a recognised walking route from Barton to Oakham. With a bit of looking I found the footpath up to the walking/cycling path across the bridge.
Who needs the Sydney Harbour Bridge? This one is magnificent. I did note the Samaritans poster but I was in no mood for jumping. The bridge was only opened in 1981 so before that it was either the ferry or the long way round.
So I left Lincolnshire behind and entered East Riding of Yorkshire. I was following the Trans-Pennine Way along the Humber foreshore into Hull; however, the signs disappeared in places and some parts of the walk were not great. At one point I had to cross a derelict lock gate where vandals had already pushed the barriers out of the way. Fortunately it didn’t collapse and the smack heads on the other side offered me (slightly incoherent) directions to get back on track. I was a bit lost wandering through the industrial area and so stopped for a quick cup of tea and a sandwich at a greasy spoon. I love these places.
Eventually I reached the Marina and Victoria Dock, the smarter bits of town where Hull is advertised as a great destination for a weekend away. I can believe that from what I saw, just be selective and don’t go for a week. It was here that I met Raymond. He was watching the new college being built (something he does for a few hours every day) and asked me where I was walking to. When I said Paull he pointed out that the path along the foreshore was closed by the docks and so he took it upon himself to ensure I found my way. He walked with me for an hour and without him I would have got lost. Seriously, why would a council close the old path a month before it opens a new path? My timing was not good in this regard and without Raymond I’d have been stuck. He was a lovely man and also enjoyed long distance walking, but he was not someone many people would chat to as he clearly had a few challenges. At one point he went into a shop and asked the shopkeeper to write his name and address down to give to me with the request that I write and tell him when I finish my walk (I explained this would be next year). He really brightened my afternoon, particularly as the diversion involved 3 soul-destroying miles alongside a dual carriageway. When he left me I had very thorough instructions of how to get to Paull that had been repeated many times over. He even thanked me for trusting him, which was ridiculous because without him I’d still be walking.
I rounded yet another large gas works, the Saltend works that celebrated 100 years of innovation in the field of transportation fuel in 2014. Finally Paull was in sight and I was able to leave the road and walk once more by the river. I was hungry and my feet hurt from so much road walking so decided to stop for food in Paull before tackling the final 1.5 mile to my accommodation in the middle of nowhere. There were no shops for me to buy something to cook in the communal kitchen, but there were 2 pubs. The better looking pub had an hour until service but the other pub, the more rundown one, was serving food so I went in and was rewarded with an excellent home cooked meal; possibly one of the best meals of my trip. If you’re ever in Hull take a 10 minute drive out to Paull and you’re guaranteed a good meal at the Humber Tavern. You could even visit Fort Paull while you’re there.
An hour and a half later the rain had set in and I had a wet walk along the edge of the Paull Holme salt marsh sea defences to my B&B.
I still had plenty to do with clothes washing and tent drying (room looks like a bomb site). I reflected on the long day and decided the moral of today has definitely been that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!