Cleethorpes, in this case. This was a day out by rail, from Shrewsbury to Stockport, where we changed trains for Sheffield, via the Hope Valley line, and Doncaster to the terminus on the southern bank of the Humber. After a brief pause for fish and chips (obligatory), we walked south-eastwards the mile or so along the sea front to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway terminus. We would have caught the next train to the other end of the line at Humberston, but it was fully booked for a large party of small children, so we walked on. There’s an unexpected discovery close by Humberston station – a shiny steel plaque set in the footpath marks the Greenwich meridian – we’re crossing from the west into the east…
After a brief exploration of Humberston Fitties, we took to the sands, which eventually give way to an area of salt marsh, with all manner of coastal plant life, and randomly-arranged muddy creeks which make progress tricky. Returning to the shore path, we walked a little further to where an old pillbox provided a slightly-elevated seat for us to sit back for half-an-hour and take in the vista, across the sands to the estuary and, on the opposite shore, Spurn Head. Two curious structures catch the eye – Haile Sand and Bull Sand forts, built just 100 years ago to defend the mouth of the Humber. Numerous cargo boats move up and down on the incoming tide, while closer at hand, there’s a reed bunting in the bushes and a sparkling white egret in the pool.
We’d walked getting on for five miles at our turning point, so the 15″ gauge light railway provided a welcome break in the long walk back to the railway station, for the journey home. But midsummer isn’t long past, and it’s only as we’re approaching Shrewsbury, where we’re due at 22.08, that it really begins to get dark. A most enjoyable day, with everything going to plan (no late trains), a real change of scene and a breath of sea air.
For more on the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway visit “Cleethorpes” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries