This year our annual North Sea Cycle Route took us from Hull to Norwich, each year inching ever closer to the final destination of Harwich. After a near seven hour train journey to Hull we rode to Hessle and wobbled up onto the Humber Bridge.
Cycling buddy Keith leads the way
Though not before admiring the Anchor Brewery tiling on the Dairycoates Inn.
The Anchor brewery was home to Hull Brewing Co from 1867-1985, before being bought and closed by Mansfield. Before the Humber Bridge opened their beer was supplied to Lincolnshire by barge. The single span bridge opened in 1981, the longest of its type in the world at the time, and signalled the closure of the Hull to New Holland ferry. New Holland may have been a slightly disappointing destination for day trippers.
57 miles later we were scrubbed up for a night out in Lincoln, having paused briefly in Market Rasen. Sadly the shop selling this was closed.
No new Good Beer Guide ticks were required on this trip but a couple of pre-emptives were sought out. The Mail Box is in what was once a grand post office.
It’s large, popular with young people and had beers from a brewery called Beermat. The one we had was called Yes Mate and all their beers include the word ‘mat’ within the title. Our man in the midlands may want to sue for copyright https://twitter.com/britainbeermat?lang=en-gb
We had a below par beer in the nearby Dandy Lion, then a delectable Tiny Rebel Send Milds (3.8%, apparently brewed for CAMRA’s annual Make May a Mild Month campaign) in the Strait and Narrow. The latter formed a necessary base camp before the final assault to Beerheadz, which is at the top of Steep Hill. This is well named as anyone who has walked it will know and might even be England’s steepiest hill.
Beerheadz follows the successful formula used by their pubs in the east midlands, selling a range of cask and keg beers.
We belatedly joined a music quiz and, embarrassingly, scored 100% on the Eurovision Song Contest round. But Team Sausage pipped us to third place. Beer quality was high – it was the last of the night so we had a few to prepare us for a longer ride the next day. You could tell we’d had a few because I finished on the Hedgerow Nettle and Bramble Kettle Sour, apparently brewed by Kirkstall in Leeds. It was deliciously refreshing, not very tart and tasted of blackberries. And I wasn’t stung by the price.
The next day was a 73 mile ride to King’s Lynn, the first sections being along the River Witham then an old railway line into Boston.
It was gorgeous and we hardly saw anyone else. The paths were alive with singing sedge and reed warblers, a cuckoo called, while swallows and martins swooped low above our heads. The minor roads were deserted – Lincolnshire is surely England’s sleepiest county.
All quiet at St Hugh’s Village Hall
And as the sun blazed down on our muscular, bronzed torsos (no? feeble, broken bodies then?), we crossed Sutton Bridge into Norfolk and a night in King’s Lynn.