North Sea Cycle Route (Part 4) Germany to London

Part 1 – England/Scotland  Part 2 – Norway  Part 3 – Sweden/Denmark

My arrival in Germany was rewarded with a huge punnet of Strawberry’s, perhaps not as good as the Norwegian variety, but succulent nonetheless.  The landscape had barely changed, the same sheep tracks, gates and sheep droppings I had been cycling through for days.  On occasion, the track was on the seaward side.  The view of the Nordfriessische Inseln (islands) was ethereal, a mirage of sea, sky and man-made navigational towers.

IMG_20170706_094619

I waited at a railway crossing to see a surreal sight of a train, transporting cars, with the drivers and passengers still seated within – reading the days papers. Their destination was Sylt, the aspirational holiday destination which can only be reached by train.

I cross a huge tidal barrier, which guards the entrance to the River Eider. full of day tourists enjoying the endless North Sea views.  Continue reading

NSCR Ferries

Catching a ferry is one of the pleasures of cycling the North Sea Cycle Route.  I counted 26 in total but I probably missed a few.  Some services run for just 6 weeks in summer, so careful planning is needed to avoid long detours.

This is a rough guide to the main ferry services, but it is not exhaustive and some of the ferries mentioned are not strictly on the NSCR.

Starting from London and working clockwise:

LONDON to SHETLAND

  • Brightlingsea Ferry from Mersea Island to Brightlingsea – brightlingseaharbour.org you cycle across Mersea island down a rough lane and then have to push your bike to the end of a shingle spit. There are no signs or indication that a ferry even runs, but phone the number and they come and pick you up

IMG_20170420_143457

  • Harwich to Felixstowe Ferry – the Harwich Harbour Ferry harwichharbourferry.com takes you across the River Orwell and past the huge container port of Felixstowe, landing you on the beach near Languard Fort, very friendly, with a café at the Harwich embarkation point
  • The Harwich Ferry is the first of the Four Foot Ferries, see pdf http://www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/assets/Publications/Other-Publications/2016-Four-Ferries.pdf you can then take the Bawdsey, Butley and Walberswick ferries to Southwold. This route is not strictly on the NSCR but worth a detour if the ferry times work and the weather is good.  Some run to a schedule, others you have to call.
  • The next ferry is much further north at South Sheilds (excellent fish and chips at Colman’s), a regular commuter ferry which takes you into Tynemouth

Continue reading