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March 02, 2021, 07:20:48 AM

Pier Pressure THE STORY - Day 5 Tuesday 16th August

This is a discussion for the topic Pier Pressure THE STORY - Day 5 Tuesday 16th August on the board Pier Pressure 2016.

Author Topic: Pier Pressure THE STORY - Day 5 Tuesday 16th August  (Read 3563 times)

this user is offline Chad

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on: October 30, 2016, 01:45:02 AM
Today was going to be our busiest pier visiting day of the trip so far, with 7 piers on our list for the day. This meant for an early start (even earlier than normal). Looking out of our bedroom window Skegness looked very quiet and slightly less neon that the night before, but once again the weather looked like it was going to be dry and fine.

Whilst the rest of the hotel guests were still tucked up in bed, George, Ruth, Alex and myself were down in the hotel bar having breakfast by around 7:30am.

Right on time Andy turned up at 8:00am in his dark blue Sidewinder and a few moments later there was the unmistakable sound of a second buggy as Gordon arrived in his LWB Black and white striped FF buggy. Andy and Gordon kindly taxi us to his mom’s house to pick up the buggies and just 15 minutes later we arrive back to the hotel to collect Ruth and Alex. Waiting for us there is Simon and family in his Blue Rat, returning back after their short cruise with us the previous evening.

It was good that Gordon had arrived as he had set up a GLYMPSE group, whereby people could track our exact location at any time. In needed Gordon to show us how to set up the app on my phone and log on.

A few minutes later the 5 buggies head off towards our first meeting of the day at Hunstanton with Andy R taking the lead to Boston. When planning Pier Pressure and talking about it on BBI, we had an offer from Stephen whose family own a seafront business in Hunstaton, offering to supply us tea and donuts if we passed that way. Stephen had arranged a meeting with the local major and paper, with photos on the green outside the old Hunstanton Pier which burnt down a good few years back, leaving an amusement arcade where it used to start.

The first 25 miles go quickly and before we know it we are refueling in Boston before crossing the river Witham and heading along the A17 towards Kings Lynn, crossing the very robust Sutton Bridge over the River Nene.

I had had a message from Stephen saying he would meet us just the other side of Kings Lynn in a layby near to the Hospital. Approaching King Lynn we pulled onto a dual carriageway on to literally meet up with Miles in the inside lane in his LWB Volksrod who was cruising to meet Stephen. We were now 6 buggies and the day’s cruise was growing.

As we approached the layby near the hospital Stephen was waiting in his sparkly red SWB GP MK3 along with Chris Jordan in his yellow LWB Doon. Unexpectedly, but very much welcome, the guys were already fired up and ready to go, pulling out as we approached – we found out later that they had been watching our approach on GLYMPSE, which proved invaluable as the trip went on. So without the cruise having to stop, we were now 8 buggies and in the hands of Stephen at the head.

Amazingly at that moment in time we were bang on our proposed schedule for the day. With some slight traffic on the way into Hunstatnton, we arrived at the village green on the sea front and we were allowed to park right in the middle. Already that morning we had travelled 71 miles from SKegness. We were joined by a local guy in his Baja, but unfortunately I never got his name and he didn’t cruise with us after the stop, so whoever you were, thank you.

The local Mayor was waiting for us along with the reporter from the local press and after our required paparazzi moment, Stephen supplied tea and donuts for us all as promised. The mayor turned out ot be a car guy who owned a class MG. Unfortunately, we only had a short time at Hunstaton and what felt like just a few minutes after we had arrived, the 8 buggies hit the road with the tea half drunk, for our next planned stop at Cromer Pier, another 37 miles down the coast. The last time I was in Cromer was around 2003 when all it did was rain, although luckily I did find the local beer festival to hold up in, so I was truly looking forward to returning on the sunshine.

After contacting Cromer Pier before the trip we had been invited to park up and meet the local councilor and pier trust, along with the local press once again. The only issue was that we needed to be there by 12:15pm to be led at walking pace down the promenade to the pier as the Cromer carnival was on that week and there were several things going on around the pier and promenade that day.

Between Hunstaton and Cromer lay Wells Next-to-Sea. The last time I was there was to film the episode of KINGDOM in which my buggy was filmed alongside Stephen Fry and I really wanted to pass through the front there once more for old time’s sake.  Now I am not a regular sta nav user and I certainly cannot stand the spoken commentary, which can’t be heard anyway on the buggy. But I realised early on it was going to be a necessary evil to use one for our Pier Pressure trip. Consequently I did have some issues with following the Sat Nav throughout the trip.

Today I made two big cock ups with my navigation, the first being at Wells. I missed the turn to take us along the sea front and tried unsuccessfully to use the next road to double back. Trouble was the road didn’t double back and suddenly I have 8 buggies stuck in the narrow back streets in Wells. Unfortunately, in the melee I managed to lose Chris Jordan who turned left as we turned right – really sorry Chris for that.

The next cock up came just a few short miles further on where, in a small village, I took a wrong turning which took us away from the coast road and into the local countryside. In a way, this actually turned out pretty well for us as we managed to avoid the traffic and congestion on the coast road and we actually arrived in Cromer bang on time. Waiting for us at the side of the road was Dave in his LWB yellow Doon. Dave had Hudge in the passenger seat as his own buggy was poorly and couldn’t make the trip that day.

Cromer Pier was down a steep narrow ramp and a couple of hundred yards along the promenade. Waiting for us were two of the event staff in yellow jackets who lead us all the way to the pier front at around 5 mph. Thankfully Chris managed to catch back up with us just as we were heading down to the pier, which was great.

I really enjoyed our short time at Cromer and it still remains one of my favourite piers we visited on the trip. We were made very welcome and there were large crowds around to add to the buzz. We also now had a great line up of 9 buggies right on the promenade outside the pier entrance and the walkways up the cliffs made for some great high level photos.

The weather was still being very kind to us too. Here we met up with the local cabinet member for tourism, the head of the pier trust and the local press for more photos and interviews. We were starting to feel like minor celebrities today.

Whilst we were doing the press stuff, Dave and Hudge took it upon themselves to shake the collection tins in front of faces and swell the ever growing donation pot. Thanks guys.

I also realised that today we had on our cruise three of the UK’s current buggy kit manufacturers; Gordon who owns the FF moulds, Miles who owns the Volksrod moulds and myself with the Doon moulds. This proved to me what a great friendly community we belong to and what support we were being given to our challenge from across the whole of the buggy world.

It was now just gone 1:00pm and Cromer was just the first pier of 7 we had to visit today, so with some hasty farewells we hit the road again and set off for Great Yarmouth. However the quick getaway was thwarted by an inconsiderate delivery driver completely blocking the top of the access ramp for 10 or so minutes until someone found him.  At this point Simon, Miles, Stephen and Chris had to leave us sadly, but this still left 5 buggies to cruise on around the East Anglian coast.

I can’t recall ever visiting Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft or Southwold  so I was looking forward to the next few hours of our trip. We made good time heading the 33 miles down to Great Yarmouth and Hudge was having a great time hanging out of Dave’s Doon taking some great ‘action’ shots.

There are 2 piers in Great Yarmouth, the first being the Britannia Pier which had a lovely wide paved area just right for parking and displaying 5 buggies. We had had no reply from either of the Great Yarmouth Piers but we had no problems just rocking up and parking and everyone seemed happy. It was getting warmer by the minute and we took slightly more time here to have lunch (Hot Dog and Tea – normal Pier fayre) and a bit of much needed chill time. George even met up with an old friend who had come to make a special visit to see us. Dave and Hudge continued on their two man crusade to ensure everyone around through some money in the pot, thanks for the commitment to the cause gents.

After 45 minutes we simply popped a mile down the seafront to Wellington Pier, Great Yarmouth’s smaller of the two piers in town. Unlike the larger pier, the front outside of the pier is far more compact and we just about manage to squeeze the fie buggies out the front. This time we had to be careful of the promenade train and horse drawn carriage lane, particularly when stepping back to take photos .

The Wellington Pier looked very much like many others with an amusement arcade bolted to the front. However just behind the front was a large Victorian winter garden structure that was in desperate need of repair and could be fantastic again. However this appeared to be the way with a good number of the piers we had already visited, where an injection of funds would be more than welcome but the cost involved are making this almost impossible without Government grants or active pier trusts and donations. This is such a shame as they are mostly all listed buildings.

To try and say a little time we didn’t stay at the Wellington for the full 30 minute allotted time as it was far less busy that the Britannia up the road. Time for a quick fuel and comfort break before heading off to our next port of call.

Lowestoft, like Great Yarmouth, had 2 piers and within 12 miles we were pulling up outside of South Pier.

By now we had become quite adapt at getting the buggies as close to the piers as possible, some with permission, some just being confident and bold. The South Pier was very much of the later in that we hadn’t heard back from South Pier and to actually get to the promenade we had to drive down a small block paved service road, cut across the corner of the floor fountains before they went off, drive between the bollards and pull up right outside on the pedestrian promenade. We were met by really happy staff from the pier who had their own cameras out before we had even got out the buggies.

Then out of the blue I couldn’t believe it. It looked like flags had finished his new metallic orange buggy build and come to join us, although he took his old lady dressing up fetish to a whole new level… :-).

We were also joined by a dodgy looking old boy band – think hey were called something like ‘Cop This’ rather than ‘Take That’.

It was now pushing passed 4:00pm and we still had 80 miles to drive and 3 piers left to visit. Thankfully the next Lowestoft pier could be seen at the other end of the promenade less than 1 mile away. We resisted the urge to drive the whole way along the promenade and tip toed our way back out onto the road.  Sometime between the two piers Dave diverted to drop Hudge off home, being a local Lowestoft resident, before catching up with us at the next pier.

Lowestoft Claremont Pier was down a little access road that was blocked by a barrier to stop people driving on the promenade (seems our choice at the last pier was the correct one). Whilst we set up for our obligatory buggy and pier picture against the barrier, Ruth went and used her charms on the nearest member of pier staff. The pier retained some of its 1930’s charm and although there was amusement arcade it was far more subtle and the front was dominated more by outdoor café seating.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 01:51:08 AM by Chad »
The Classic Evovles

this user is offline Chad

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Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 01:47:15 AM
Before we knew it the barrier was opened and we were granted access to the promenade, slipway and beach by the side of the pier; really nice welcome and support by the Clarence. The weather was still playing ball with a lovely Simpson’ style sky. This meant we got some great pictures down by the beach and the side of the pier and even Andy Robinson managed to get his tyres sandy again – twice in 2 days. Gordon and myself also took the opportunity for some nice beach pictures too.

We also meet up with some old friends who live that way which was great and Andy treated us all to an ice cream before we had to say goodbye to Lowestoft and head off to our next stop at Southwold.

5 piers down and just 2 left before the day was over.  It was just another 12 miles down the coast to Southwold and by now it was late afternoon. Southwold has a lovely Art Deco frontage built in the 1930’s to replace the original playhouse entrance (which more than likely burnt down) and had parking to the frontage with a large car park to the side. Surprisingly the car park was very busy.  George and myself managed to sneak the buggies right against the front doors in the ‘no parking’ zone for a quick shot.

All 5 buggies then ventured around the side of the pier onto the nice perfectly sized promenade area for a few more shots.

I did like the look and feel of Southwold although by now, despite the car park, the were actually very few people milling around. Amazingly we were just about 15 minutes or so behind schedule. We had planned a 45 minute stop here to catch an afternoon snack but we decided to curtail the stop to about 30 minutes to try and help get to the hotel on time for once at the end of the day.

Just one pier left and the time has now pushed onto 6:00pm as we drive away from Southwold. Andy R took his leave at Southwold and headed for home. We thanked him for all his help over the past 2 days and especially the help from his family in Skegness.

Our final and 7th pier of the day was at Felixstowe, some 40 miles south of Southwold. To be truthfully honest ths was just a 40 mile slog along the A12 and I really don’t remember too much of it, just that it was lovely English country side with mile after mile flat fields and hedge rows, punctuated by the odd village now and then.

Our pre-ordained travel schedule had us arriving at 7pm and bang on 7 pm we arrived at Felixstowe Pier. We had now travelled over 200 miles and visited 7 piers that day and the sun was in its final throws before setting for the night. Felixstowe pier wasn’t one of the prettiest we had visited on the trip, being basically an uninspiring amusement box stuck on the front end of a pier, accessed through the back of a public car park and through a gap in the promenade wall.

George and myself ventured our buggies onto the promenade at the side of the pier to get our pier ‘proof of visiting’ photo whilst Dave and Gordon stayed on the car park as space was limited around the industrial wheelie bins.


The only people now around were groups of teenagers visiting the arcade and trying to get a seat in the buggies – ‘Bet I could drive that wicked mate’ said one ‘I know you won’t’ I replied sarcastically.

As there were very few other folks around we decided that for the first time since starting Pier Pressure we would pack up early and drive the last 17 miles to the hotel. So at 7:15 we left Felixstowe and headed off to find food.  Only afterwards did we find out that a reporter from the East Anglian Times turned up at the pier at 7:30 to take pictures and for an interview. Unfortunately they had not contacted us previously so we didn’t know they would be coming else we would have waited.

As we were now in Dave Doon’s patch he led us of towards Ipswich to find food on the way to our hotel. The sun was now setting and the temperature was dropping.

Gordon had already arranged to stop the night at the same hotel and join us on our adventures the following day. Dave led us to the Hungry Horse on the outskirts of Ipswich before heading home for food. This left Ruth, Alex, George. Gordon and myself eating at the pub and getting a decent meal.

Time was now past 9:00pm when we jumped back in the buggies to finish off the last 10 miles for the day. Our Travel Lodge was in Capel St Mary right on the side of the dual carriageway that is the A12. The post code was set in the sat-nav and off we set, crossing the Orwell Bridge on route. We religiously followed the sat nav as it was now dark and eventually we pull off the A12, pass through a small village and rejoin the A12 and pull off on the next slip road into the BP Garage. And there it was, the Travelodge, nicely well lit and quite obvious. Only trouble was it was 4 lanes away on the other side of the dual carriageway – Doh!!. My third sat-nav failure of the day.

Gordon came to the rescue and using his phone correctly directs us to the Travelodge car park. It turns out when we had left the A12 initially, we were only about 150 yards from the Travelodge access. Have I said before how much I hate sat-navs? This Travelodge is a cut above the others we have stopped in so far as it doesn’t share its site with a 24hr McD’s or a Subway, but is served by a Costa Coffee so at least breakfast tomorrow is sorted.

We check in and then all retire to the Chadwick’s room for a quick chat and warm beer. Gordon then disappears and materializes a few minutes later with some cold beers bought from the nearest petrol station. Finally we all part our ways and the lads retire for the night and I am left setting the sat-nav route for day 6 as well as trying to keep up with the social media side of things. It turns out our GLYMPSE app journey had become so kind of cult hit and many people were now following our route, including my extremely digitally Neanderthalic sister and my work’s media team.

Day 5 (now technically day 6 as it was well past midnight) had been a long day with 7 more piers visited, with meeting some very new and some very old buggy friends and with another 240+ miles travelled. We were now half way around our challenge, had covered around half the miles but only visited 22 of the 57 piers on our list. This meant there were some very busy days ahead and little did we know at that time just how busy Day 6 would be…

The Classic Evovles

this user is offline Mrs Shaggy

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Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 09:15:38 AM
Still loving reading these Chad, looking forward to the next instalment  ;-)up

this user is offline Dave DND

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Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 10:39:19 PM
Agreed - Brilliant write up mate   ;-)up

this user is offline Zip Buggy

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Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 11:59:29 PM
Loving it Chad. Wish I'd had my buggy going earlier so I could have joined you for the East Anglian stint  :)
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this user is offline Doon L001

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Reply #5 on: November 29, 2016, 01:50:01 PM
Couple of images of Felixstowe Pier now.

They have demolished the trashy arcade at the entrance and are rebuilding, so one pier is being looked after.

They have also put up a sign with a bit of history, hope you can read it, will probably have to zoom in.
Like many piers it was built for steam boats to run pleasure cruises and ferry services and originally had a T piece on the end. Same company built the Southwold and one of the Lowestoft piers for their steamboat line

Dave - Doon LWB 1st one made  ;-)up Name "Weather Permitting"