Sunday, 18 August 2013

Riverside Walks

I hope the weekend has treated you well? We've had some lovely weather here with seasonal showers now and then during this summer of long overdue fine weather.

I've done two walks recently with my friend Linda in order to keep the fitness up, both near enough two miles, which in the scheme of things isn't far, but we're building up.

You've read many times of the Humber in my blogs, one of the countries busiest and most dangerous rivers and it tends to be pretty muddy water due to the clay nature of the land, but the land provides beautiful walks alongside it and vistas to make your mouth water.

Two recent walks were in total contrast, yet only a few yards apart, one pleasant and one not so bright. Let me explain.
Our first walk - highly recommended - Google Maps
The first walk took place from the Corporation Pier in Hull walking eastward. We did both these walks on warm balmy evenings with a view to seeing nice sunsets. This walk starts in one of the oldest places in Hull where ferries used to sail to New Holland in Lincolnshire, in latter years, paddle steamers. Now, nothing sails from the pier because the Humber bridge makes commercial passenger traffic by boat across the Humber superfluous. I have thought however that pleasure trips would make a bit of money to be honest.  

Disused Yorkshire Dry Dock (the Tidal Barrier across the River Hull in the background)
We cross the river Hull by a new footbridge next to the disused dry dock which someone wants to turn into an amphitheatre and round the Deep, a nationally recognised sea life centre. The walk then takes us along the Humber bank along a purpose built wide footway with the Victoria Dock estate on one side and the river separated by a barrier on the other side. This is frequented by residents and dog walkers, kids on bikes and families and is a lovely safe walk.
Walk alongside and round the Deep at a place locally known as Sammy's Point

The path then takes us across the old lock gate, now all concreted up which used to lead to the old timber dock. This dock is now just full of water and fish and three fountains with playing water, very attractive it is too. Houses and blocks of nice looking flats overlook the river and the old dock here and it has been lovingly restored and maintained making this a lovely atmosphere. 

The walk finishes at the end of the Victoria Dock estate when it is time to walk back and as we timed it right, you walk back westwards and see the sun setting across the river vista. 

At the far end of our first walk, we see the Pride of Rotterdam (mainly cars and passengers) leaving port for her overnight North Sea crossing
This is gentle, steady, plenty of seats although no loos, but its a mile one way and a mile back. Take a camera and  a flask and see lots of wildlife activity in the river and in the riverside flora as well as shipping which passes pretty close to the shore at this point. The Ferries to the European continent can be seen leaving on the evening tide every day (using deep channels.)

The skeletal remains of the front end of an old wooden barge, left abandoned donkey's years ago can be seen at the end of this walk on the waters edge.
There are regular signs too along this walk explaining the history of the area and modern day context.
A small flotilla of speed boats come in together making their way to Humber Dock for the night

Several speedboats were coming in to the Humber dock just as we finished our walk.

The last few yards of the walk near the Deep looking west, the lights twinkling as dusk sets in
The second walk, taken on another evening was just a continuation of the first route, but as the Victoria Dock estate finishes, as you continue to walk eastward, there are industrial units to the left and the open river with no barriers to separate you from the river on the other side. This is all so very different and isolated and less pleasant. The path is solid and wide enough but not recommended for children or dogs who like to roam. 

Our second walk, not really recommended unless in a party - Google Maps
No seats on this one and nothing to see of interest in the commercial premises on the land side of the path.

The walk takes you across a working lock gate which I think is always a twitchy experience, just flimsy looking chains separate you from the big drop into the lock or to the river and the footway is iron gridded, so it's like walking on air. I'm sure it's safe, but it feels not so much so. Having said that, there are ramps either side, so if you are in a wheel chair, you can get across.

The Amanda from Willemstad waiting patiently for the Pride of Hull to leave the dock entrance before coming into dock itself
There are some fascinating empty ruined riverside sheds and wooden piles in the Humber itself which once held wharves and railway lines still in evidence, memories for some older generations of long lost and almost forgotten dock side activity. Birds are the only occupants these days.  
Long abandoned wharf sheds, although difficult to see in the picture, there are old railway lines just this side of the shed used by trains to take away the good offloaded from ships
Eventually, the outward walk finally finishes at the King George Dock where the modern days ferries are berthed and which houses a very busy shipping dock (the walk is a dead end, you can't get onto the dock). 

The passenger and cargo ferry (60,000 tonnes), The Pride of Hull leaving port; the old wharf supports can be seen in the foreground

The walk back has nothing to commend it much other than the setting sun and river views.   We got stopped by the lock gates which opened to let a tug and a towed vessel into the dock which was interesting to watch, but completely isolated and trapped us on the path to the east. 
The Hull tug Beamer towing smaller tug Lashette toward the dock gate
 There were some wading birds on the mud flats and cormorants on riverside structures arising out of the water.

Water birds waiting for higher tides for their feeding

Don't do this one alone, watch for exceptionally high tides which face no barriers to the footpath and take a mobile phone.

Two entirely contrasting walks separated by a car park in the middle, but good exercise nonetheless.

Enjoy your week ahead.

Chat soon



  1. Funnily enough RLS, my friend and I were talking about Deep yesterday and saying we really must make the effort and drive down to it one day - after all we don't live all that far away.

  2. Hi Weaver,
    It's a lovely experience and there is a nice cafe there too, thoroughly recommended.