Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A journey to the Stour Valley

It's Wednesday. Today I had quite a late start. I set off just before 10.00 to avoid my things being locked in the YH. Headed to Tunstall, then Butley, Holesley, Aldeton, Bawdsey, and then to the harbour. The ferry was headed in - he was sullen and I paid him £3.50.
It's ferry time. This one's called Bryan.

The driver was called Mr. Grumpy Bugger:

In Felixstowe - fresh fish and seafood. Fairly busy. I headed for the pub. I asked the kid behind the bar if he sold anything local. He replied that Stella was "fairly local". At first I thought he was joking, and laughed. He wasn't. I asked for a pint of Earl Soham. After a pint and updating my journal, I set off again; the pub was starting to get busy, I was lucky to have got a table. Dog walkers all sat outside. Felixstowe had an upmarket end, and a downmarket end. I struggled to find the ferry. It wasn't well signposted and my map did not make the route at all clear. I decided to enter the docks. There was an unholy banging noise coming from the area round the docks; as I followed a labrynthine route through the town and around the docks, past a locked gate entrance, along a dual carriageway, and left along a major road leading into the port, and past security who paid me no attention, into a major working dock. No ferry. I passed a sign that said "no public access" and one of the dock workers, a Geordie, asked me if I was lost.

Felixstowe seafront: the upmarket end
He told me that the foot ferry had stopped running. Then he radioed and got me instructions on how to get there. It involved going through the locked gate that I had mentioned previously. So I ingored his advice and headed back to the sea front. I then followed the sea front path all the way round - to the fort and museum - and there it was. Or wasn't!

This is the sign I found waiting for me. Plan "A" buggered! The one bloody day I turn up!! I lost my temper a bit, I admit, but forced myself to calm down, and then to get back into cycling mode. My journey was now significantly longer than I had planned; and it meant I had to go through Ipswich. It's impossible to go round due to major roads, and the estuary.

Trimley St Mary, Trimley St Martin, along the A14 on the pedestrian/ cyclists' path. Levington, and then still following National Cycle Route 51, through the middle of a council estate, two parks. I followed the A137 out of town to Broud, through Whersted, Holbrook, etc....all signposted. Then I cycled under the A14, and along a fairly busy road on the estuary bank, passed a large public school, Alton water reservoir, Stutton and Brantham.
sustrans map of Route 51

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