There are charming old parts of Great Yarmouth; Georgian narrow streets, and cargo ships in the river which I drove by heading for the seafront. The port is busy but the herring industry which once employed so many people has long gone. And then, round the corner and down to the front, I came on to the famous Pleasure Beach – bright, loud and glitzy! It was early in the season but the Golden Mile of rides and tourist attractions – The Gold Rush, The Silver Slipper, Caesars Fun Palace, ice creams, fish & chips - were drawing huge crowds on the hottest day of the year so far. I drove up and down and left! I was heading for Cromer and the more rural delights of The Cromer & Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival.
You can hug the coast in Norfolk like you can't in Suffolk where you have to detour off the main road to reach the sea. I went the scenic way past the eastern edge of The Broads, through rich farmland, and passed all those wonderful churches.
Norfolk is famous for its churches, it has the highest density of medieval churches of anywhere in the world, but I started really seeing them as this coast opened up before me. I stopped at some. (Still my favourite church must by Blythburgh with its clerestory and beautiful angels carved in the ceiling - but that's in Suffolk.) Despite this being real caravan-land, it also has a real ring of the ancient. Waxham's beautiful flint church and the famous Waxham barn; through South Palling, past herds of mismatched, horned cattle grazing on the marsh;beach after beautiful beach; and sometimes seeing three beautiful churches before me.
I hadn't realised how flinty this part of north Norfolk was but from now on flint was the building material used all along, until the road drops down to King's Lynn. Beaches of shingle and sand and flints picked from the sea.
|Cromer from the beach|
And so I arrived in Cromer; its ancient church with a massive 160ft tower rises right out of the middle of the town, so I headed for that and found a car park.
The Crab & Lobster festival was in full swing and I went to find John Davies who Graham from the Colchester Oyster Fishery said might take me out fishing. John is a great Cromer character. He said he would certainly take me out, probably on Tuesday, and I was to ring him on Monday. Bingo! I then went in search of a cotton jumper as I was boiling in wool.