The Angry Corrie 68: Jun-Sep 2006


Norwich the hard way

Far far back, in TAC3, Perkin Warbeck opined that a Lomondish line should henceforth proscribe the southern limit of his stravaiging. It's only now, 15 years later, that he has dared venture down to the flatlands once again...

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ALBION'S PLAIN is so drearisome that it doesn't even bear discussion, but whatever little protrusion I was ascending in TAC3 (Skiddaw - Ed.) was a Matterhorn compared with where I was recently. I may have alluded to some aspects of my day job, usually for purposes of humour and mention of Nesbitt's procedure, and work recently took me to Norwich. On hearing this, the Ed demanded a hillwalker's guide.

First things first. It's not the flattest place I have ever been, although it's so flat that only pedantry makes me state this. I have been to Cambridge, and a dim recollection confirmed by Google Earth tells me that Norwich by comparison is like Kleine Scheidegg. When walking home from dinner at Delia's, for example, I had to ascend from a Dead Sea-like 14 feet as I crossed the River Yare to the heady heights of 59 feet as I made a right off Prince of Wales Rd on to Tombland. Better men than I would be on Diamox.

According to NASA, the Salar de Uyuni on the Altiplano of southwestern Bolivia is the flattest place on earth with an elevation that varies by fewer that two feet in 3800 square miles. The difference from Norfolk being that round about the Altiplano are some decent mountains. Around Norwich are "the Broads" (over which I refuse to make a pun), and endless Bernard Matthews "bat and ball" turkey camps. And of course Norwich does have what Michael Marra would call "history up to your knees".

Now some of this would seem to demean the city centre of Norwich as a technical challenge. Not a bit of it. In fact some of the female members of my party found the gradient of Waggon and Horses Lane and the technical nature of the rock enough to occasionally require a taxi, or at least to consider a change of footwear away from what might be called "the high shaggers" into something more utilitarian.

In desperation, in case I was misleading the readers of TAC, I thought to Google "norwich hills". After all, I had been there to work, not bag summits. I had to plough though all sorts of stuff from the USA as they steal all our placenames. Lo and behold, eight down, I found Orford Hill, which checks in at a staggering 108 feet. I also found Elm Hill, but this was a mendacious foothill of the aforementioned Orford Hill.

And that would appear to be that. I enjoyed my four days, and if cobbled streets and ancient buildings do it for you then off you go. I apologise for all the Henry VIII-style units, but I got them all from Google Earth and our North American cousins are still using poles, chains, firkins and bushels. How they went to the moon I'll never know.


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