October – over the Humber

Barrow Haven and Barton-upon-Humber

It’s only weekend three but we are daring to leave god’s own county of Yorkshire – conquering Europe one county at a time. The view of the wide, bleak Humber is well worth the £1.50 it costs to cross the incredible Humber bridge. Apparently, technically speaking, the Humber is not a river, but an estuary, born at the confluence of the Trent and the Ouse and draining into the North Sea at Spurn Head (a weird and lovely spot by the way). The far end of the bridge is in North Lincolnshire – land of my forefathers.

Humber brideg - lores

Distant Humber Bridge with the tide out – mudflats, reed bed and dyke

Another Caravan Club Certified Location (CL) a few hundred yards from the salt marshes and reed beds that border the water. These small caravan sites are a great invention! Especially this one at £11.00 a night including electricity. Five pitches, no shower but a nice spooky toilet in an overgrown grotto in the garden. The pub turns out to be a bit too far to stagger in pitch dark countryside but we can cope – some wine already on board and a Lidl in Barton three miles away! Only ourselves and two caravans tonight. We have been given a hardstanding on the drive (level!) as recent rain has made the grass a bit soft for motorhomes. We are secretly pleased as we are on the dry hardstanding looking at the grass and autumn trees and the others are on the wet grass looking at the drive and us!

Barrow Haven site cropped

Setting up already seems to be easier and quicker – water filled directly from the tap only by backing up two metres. Cool! Neil is in charge of all things electric and electronic and has fully fettled the satellite and TV. We feel we ought to wean ourselves from the TV but all the fixings came with the van so why not while we can. I love the BBC! We also have radio, and wifi – amazing! We use a Huawei magic box for the wifi but Neil can talk all about that at some other time and in some other place. Preferably when I am out of the room.

The main oversight – I forgot to bring proper pans from the kitchen back home. I have one middle sized pan, a steamer and a tiny frying pan that live on board so it was improvisation time that night. Not that hard as there is also a microwave oven and a big cooking bowl that can go in it. Excellent pasta again. I guess I am just a natural at roughing it in these primitive conditions;-) We decided that since we could not eat in the pub for dinner either night we would have a big lunch in Barton next day and test the grill in the evening with just a toasted cheese supper. With home-made apple chutney from August in France.

We walked to the waters edge and along to the inlet at Barrow Haven where there is an ancient, isolated wharf. Henry VIII landed here on 5 October 1541 on the return leg of his northern progress. He had crossed in a ferry from Hull. Who knew that? I didn’t, even though my family and I had spent six dislocated months in this remote corner of Lincolnshire on our return from Northern Rhodesia.

Wharf lores

Isolated wharf at Barrow Haven where Henry VIII landed in 1541 and Hull on the other bank

The wharf is concrete now and takes shipments of timber from Latvia and Estonia. I am beginning to love this micro tourism.

Timber with Neil

Neil and the baltic timber

We walked the other way along the dyke into Barton-upon-Humber the next day. The Humber one side, the lakes and marshes of the wild fowl reserve the other – a strange and bleakly lovely place this.

And then, stretching along the next inlet is the Rope Walk. No – not some exciting tree-top experience but the vestiges of the rope making industry the area was famed for. In this case it’s nearly quarter of a mile of low building along the inlet at Barton Haven. To make a rope you need a building as long as the rope you want to make – then you heckle the flax into strands and walk it and twist it into a rope. Amazing. There’s a lovely little museum to the industry there now (free), a pretty good café and an arts centre. Then a friendly bus driver dropped us off at the corner of the road to Barrow leaving us only a mile to walk back. Definitely a good day out!

Rope lores

Old rope

So far so good

And that is the end of our motorhome experiences so far. I won’t bore you with the two return trips to Huddersfield to get the broken battery locker door fixed (not our fault) and then get the habitation door lock fixed (also not our fault).

In three weekends away we have evolved from anxious mortals dreaming of taking to thecropped-snails-poor.jpg roads to more relaxed individuals enjoying sitting in fields with a glass of wine or slice of toast. Still a bit on edge waiting for things to go wrong – but definite progress into a relaxed alternative approach to life. Letting go is maybe the key, not sweating the small stuff. The real joy is discovering small tourist delights. Small delights that is, not small tourists.

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