The Viking Way is a long distance (147 mile) route from the Humber, south to Rutland Water. I was interested in whether it would be a usable alternative to the A1077 from South Ferriby to the Humber Bridge. Despite the pouring rain and howling wind, I set out to see if it was a ridable route because I’m in the final stages of tweaking the routes for the Humber Bridge 100 and Humber Bridge 200 audax events.
Crossing the Humber Bridge is always a wonderful experience – even into the teeth of a cold wet wind. I found shelter in the lee of the Lincolnshire Wolds as I rode past the tileworks and Far Ings nature reserve. Normally I would follow where the road turns south, climbing 60m from sea-level to the A1077… past Westfield House. Today, however, I rode straight-on towards the ‘dead-end’ that is South Cliff Farm.
At first the road surface was a smooth piece of tarmac… but as is usual with my off-road experiences it soon deteriorated into a loose gravel road surface before ceasing to be a road at all. Then I reached the farmyard and the route became a footpath.
The Cyclist’s Touring Club have some legal guidance about cycling on footpaths (here), but in a nutshell: the path alongside a road is called a ‘footway’ and is specifically for pedestrians. It is illegal to cycle on these. Paths in the countryside are ‘footpaths’ and these are governed by local by-laws. When deciding to cycle along one of these I make it my priority to ‘not be a nuisance’ – give way to walkers, slow down for people with dogs… generally be happy and smiling and ‘no trouble’.
As the footpath weaves around the edges of the farmyard, it then passes over a tiny wooden bridge and climbs the embankment to reveal a wonderful view of the Humber and the Yorkshire coastline over the water. I actually had to dismount and push my tourer up this bit.
Once on the embankment, there is a grassy track with easy cycling – even in the rain. I imaging in winter this can be quite muddy, but today’s rain wasn’t an issue with the hard and dry ground. I stopped to look back along the Humber estuary to the bridge.
The footpath section was perhaps 500m long, so just after this photograph I reached South Ferriby Cliff and started to climb away from the Humber; the sun came out too and I felt more inclined to have some colour photographs.
The road was a lot more flinty here and I’d be uncomfortable riding it with anything less than 28mm width tyres. The climb wasn’t strenuous but did open up the view of Yorkshire, and in no time at all I’d arrived at South Ferriby with a clearly marked entrance to the “Viking Way”:
I thought it would be nice to stop for a pint at the ‘Hope and Anchor’ and maybe see if the food is as good as it looks on the website. However – as is my fortune in these matters – the pub is closed on my day off… on Mondays. Poot it all to heck. So with no gourmet reward I simply turned round and headed back to the Humber Bridge. It was at this point I realised I’d done the whole thing the wrong way round. Cycling up the hill along the A1077 I wondered why I hadn’t ridden down this hill earlier and then cycled back along the Viking Way.
I’m really pleased I’ve checked this out, as I think it is a real cycling option for those on bikes with at least 28mm width tyres. The A1077 isn’t the most horrible road in the world, but if I had the spare time and was on a comfortable bike I would probably use this alternative ‘off-road’ route.