Day 296: Kingston upon Hull to Killingholme
Distance: 22.12 miles
Ascent: 858 feet
Accommodation: Wild camp Near Killingholme nature Reserve
I was up quite early and off a bit before 8 having said goodbye to the incredibly helpful woman in the hostel. Hull had been a weird mix, when I headed into the centre the first evening to grab some bits and it was already dark, I don’t think I have seen more homeless anywhere in the UK and there were several drunken arguments going on. But when I headed in the next day to a very similar area in the daylight the town seemed nice with a good array of shops, fountains, sculptures and everything you would expect of a large town/city.
I set of back down to the Humber and after passing the marina area I reached the edge of the dock area. I should briefly say that after the discomfort last week my hip seems fine now. The path through this first bit of docks was quite amazing really, after crossing the locks the path climbed up onto a raised pathway that literally climbed onto the roofs of the industrial buildings below before dropping down on the far end of the buildings to the side of the Humber where the path continued along a sort of promenade wedged between the river on one side and the dock works on the other.
Over the next 4 miles or so along the river I slowly approached the Humber Bridge until finally I was underneath it. The Humber Bridge was opened to traffic in 1981 and at its completion was the longest suspension bridge in the world and in fact it took almost 20 years for another bridge to surpass it. In fact it almost never got built as they couldn’t raise the funds but in the 1966 Hull North by-election and with the possibility of losing an MP, Harold Wilson told his transport minister to sanction the building of the bridge as an election sweetener. Such is British politics sometimes that something clearly logical just needed a bit of slightly naughty politics to get through. To get onto the bridge I thought might be a little tricky but actually it was fairly easy having gone under the bridge a path took me inland about 500m till I could get on the bridge.
There was a flashing sign on the approach footpath saying DANGER HIGH WINDS, which seemed a little strange as it hadn’t been windy along the river. But I had deliberately chosen the east side in case there was any wind as then would have a bit of cover. The bridge is just as magnificent when you are on it and the views down the Humber are spectacular. I am glad it wasn’t actually windy as can imagine walking this in even a moderate wind could be quite interesting.
On the other side I reached Barton upon Humber where I stopped to get some supplies in the Tesco before dropping back down to the river. This next stage heading down the river back towards the sea was lovely on the raised embankments, in the sun and passing the plethora of nature reserves. It was along here that I caught sight of a bird of prey I didn’t recognise and had only seen once before on day 3 of the walk. It is quite sizeable, slightly bigger than a buzzard, with a predominantly brown body and grey tail, its wings start brown, then grey in the middle with black tips. I will try and research what it is when I have better signal, but my photo of it is too blurry to be useful.
I reached New Holland just before lunch which was the last village/town of any size I would pass today so I decided I would pop in to the Ferryboat Cafe to grab a tea and get my water filled up. This was a community café I think and it was great, simple and uncomplicated but had everything you could want. In fact, it was such good value even though I had lunch in my bag I decided to have lunch in here as a large shepherd’s pie with veg and a drink was only £5. All the staff were lovely and they actually gave a donation and a free drink to take away with me.
To get back to the river I had to head through an industrial site, which was quite clearly marked but suddenly I heard a hoot and a giant (and I mean giant) forklift approached and for some reason I assumed I was about to get told of, but the guy was actually just stopping me getting lost as I had missed the path turnoff about 20m short of that point and he was kindly letting me know.
Back on track I followed the embankment for the next 6 miles or so to East Halton Skitter. I was now getting near the large Humber Sea Freight Terminal and also the oil refinery so the skyline was dominated by industry. The path now was a concrete track wide enough for a vehicle behind a seawall and I took this to the edge of the freight terminal, there was a hive of activity here with shipping containers and brand new cars being driven straight onto the giant ships. I slightly wondered how the path was going to get me across this lot but then suddenly there was what appeared the be a locked gate but when I got there I saw a button with said walkers press this before continuing, an alarm went off and a minute later a security man arrived to escort me across the flow of traffic heading onto the ships and less than 100m later I was out the other side, it was all super-efficient even if I imagine not many people walk this way. I wonder if that button alarm is manned 24 hours?
I was hoping to pitch here in the gap between the freight terminal and the next big industrial units next to a nature reserve shown on my OS map. It was clear early on the nature reserve would have nowhere to pitch and I was a little worried, as if I didn’t find a spot before the oil refineries and ore terminals I would have to extend the day massively probably at least 10 miles which wasn’t feasible. I was not at all confident in finding anywhere as there was no grass at all, but then suddenly about 500m shy of Killingholme High Lighthouse there was a little sort of ditch with grass below the concrete embankment which should be good enough to take my tent and was.
I was so happy to have found this spot and pitched the tent, and then cooked my dinner up on the concrete path and I will probably fall asleep quite early tonight.
A lovely day leaving the docks of Hull, crossing the Humber Bridge and then down the flood embankments bathed in sunshine.