windmill

Windmill Whirlwind

Flat lands, water and winds.

East Anglia is defined by water and wind, in just the same way as the similar lands on the other side of the North Sea. The winds also define your rides on the flat, and the winds have been good since Essex.

20200805 4 Edit

The water can get in the way, but then, much of the region would be either marshland or under water entirely without extensive sea defences and drainage. So the odd ferry is entirely acceptable, in my book. In any case, some of the ferries are quite fun, like the one above, just north of Felixstowe.

20200805 6 Edit

With the multiple ferries of south Suffolk out of the way, it was full speed up the coast to Lowestoft (above), and the monument marking the easternmost point of England / Great Britain / the UK. As you can see, Lowestoft Ness is also home to a massive wind turbine, and all the way up the east coast, the sea is dotted with huge wind farms.

20200805 8 Edit

The other things that were really noticeable about Suffolk were that the road surfaces are relatively lovely by UK standards, and that there was a lot of sand around. Quite a lot on the beaches, but also quite a lot by the roadsides inland. It’s only the sea walls here that keep the shape of the land as it is. I passed Dunwich, which was a major port in the early middle ages. The vast majority of the town was lost to the sea due to coastal erosion.

20200806 1 Edit

Wind and water continue to be the driving forces over the border in Norfolk. Much of the county is below sea level, leading to odd (for Britain) scenes with old windmills surrounded by waterways which are above road and ground level. It looks like chunks of the Netherlands.

Wind power is not a new idea in these parts, and it adds to the mystery as to how humankind forgot about it for so long in the last couple of centuries. Imagine how far ahead we’d be if we’d not been distracted by the weird practice of burning dead sea creatures… The wind was still pushing me along at a decent speed too, despite finding a lump or two in the route around the north coast.

20200807 3 Edit

Anyway, after a quick transit of the Queen’s estate at Sandringham, there was one last stop in Norfolk at King’s Lynn before crossing the border into Lincolnshire yesterday, ending up at Boston (above). Boston gave its name to a bigger town in the USA, and also had a small part in the story of the Pilgrim Fathers – a part which (as is not unusual with history) been expanded enormously as time has gone on.

It would be hard to say that the landscape has changed much so far in Lincolnshire. It is also hard to judge whether I’m already in the North of England, or will enter it shortly. Lots of place names shifted to Viking-sourced rather than German-sourced as I headed through Norfolk, but I’m not sure how much of Lincolnshire is northern, and how much is midlands.

Whichever it is, the landscape will remain pretty flat for a few days, and the wind direction will dictate how far I can go, and how much fun it is. And I will be in the North very soon, if I’m not already. And at some point, I’ll lose the windmills, which I feel are beginning to stalk me. This is what’s outside my window as I write this:

20200807 4 Edit

***Note: Although I have collected a vast number of images of windmills in the last few days, rumours that I’m planning a coffee-table Book of English Windmills are not true. Sorry for any disappointment this may cause.***