Written by: Geoff (aka Dad)
A walk I have always wanted to do, but never got round to, is The Viking Way. Having lived in Lincolnshire now for almost 40 years, I thought it was about time to do it. So I asked my good friend Gerry if he would like to walk it with me. He was delighted to take me on and show me the way, having done it himself on more than one occasion. He has even designed an alternative walk which he has called The Length of Lincolnshire, which takes in many other aspects of Lincolnshire landscape and history. So he was the ideal man to walk with. He has a passion for walking and along with his friend Dennis, has clocked up hundreds of miles of green lanes and farm tracks throughout the county. We would be joined with two more of Gerry’s walking friends, Roy and Bob. All 4 of them having had careers in various aspects of agriculture, so there would be no shortage of knowledge and expertise while ambling through the farmscapes of Lincolnshire.
The blue plaque on the old coastguard building behind Bob, Gerry and Roy bears the title of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who opened it in 1880. Of course, not the present one, even at 95 years of age, he doesn’t go that far back! It was Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son who took the title Duke of Edinburgh in 1866, before becoming the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This was our starting point for the first stage.
We passed by this impressive structure. The Humber Bridge Act was passed in 1959 and work was started on fundraising and gaining access to the land either side. Building work started in 1972 and was completed in 1981 and when it was finished it was the worlds longest suspension bridge for a short time.
We continued with our walk – a bracing stroll along the shoreline, passing the Far Ings Nature Reserve which is noted for its bitterns and bearded tits. But not today! We did see tufted duck, shoveller, mallard, pochard, widgeon and Canada and greylag geese. But my claim that I had witnessed a golden eagle swooping down to take an osprey that had grabbed a kingfisher instead of a fish, all within a few seconds, sadly was not believed by my walking companions, when I eventually caught up with them. Methinks my fantastic wildlife scenarios are not going to be sanctioned by these wise county men.
Arriving in South Ferriby, we passed St Nicholas Church. It is an old church with Norman and 14th century architecture and still it stands keeping an eye on the 21st century landscape. It overlooks the estuary and the cement works. Our walk took us past old brick pits and chalk quarries and the huge Middlegate Quarry, which opened in 1938. It still operates today, providing chalk along with other minerals taken from the underlying Kimmeridge clay, which go into the making of cement.
The last stretch of our walk today led us up the gentle gradient towards Elsham Wolds where our first stage ended after approx. 11 miles. This was followed by well deserved, delicious beef sandwiches and chips back in South Ferriby at The Hope and Anchor! No doubt that these boys know the best pubs and I’m sure we’ll sample a few more along the route as we wend our way through Lincolnshire.
To find out more about the Viking Way, visit Lincolnshire County Council website: https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/