Stage 14: Brough to Hull
Setting off from Brough, Friday 18th March 2022. Our final day.
We started in a car park on the riverbank. Another fine day with blue skies. Brough is the location of one of British Aerospace (BAe) UK sites and as we set out on the river path, we passed their white factory buildings. Annie remembered her friends who used to come here to campaign against the arms trade. One time they went into the factory and found a poster on a staff notice board with their photos and the legend ‘These people think your jobs are a joke’. Campaigning there was hard work because of loyalty to the local employer, but in business, loyalty only goes in one direction and in 2017, 400 jobs were lost when BAe stopped manufacturing aircraft in Brough. We dedicate this walk to the workers.
In the outskirts of the town, we reached the edgelands, gravel path, bits of urban detritus, an industrial plant dominating the shoreline.
But a few miles down the river, we came to Ferriby, where the river felt like a well used asset: benches, information boards, and mown paths. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. As soon as we were beyond Ferriby limits, the path went onto the silty shore. For the first time in our whole journey we walked on the exposed low tide river bed and it was treacherous, slick with silky mud!
By now the Humber Bridge was starting to dominate. In 1977, as a young man, Bob saw the component sections of the bridge laid along the shoreline, and watched the first cables being stretched across the water. As we walked towards it, it grew and grew until at Hessle, we stood right under it. In 2017 when Hull was the City of Culture, we walked across the Humber Bridge listening to a piece of sound art created from the creaks and groans of the structure. Maybe that was the unconscious start of this plan?
The bridge had been such a dominant presence that once we had reached it we almost felt like we had finished, but we still had a few miles to go. After a proper lunch in Hessle, we girded ourselves and set off again. The worst part of the whole walk was the mile which ran next to the busy A63, cars and lorries thundering past with just a barrier between us. But we were rewarded with a fascinating walk past the semi-derelict St Andrews Quay. A pile driver seemed to be chiming the start of something new for this part of town. We picked our way across the old broken lock gate into the Albert Dock passing a spot where memorials commemorate the boats and crews from Hull who have been lost at sea.
The last few steps took us up onto a footpath over the rooftops of the dock buildings, a magnificent finale, with the city laid out before us in the evening sun. And then we dropped down to the Victoria Pier and the new cultural quarter, a flourishing legacy of the City of Culture.
The end of our long journey. In our next post we will reflect on the whole experience of #walkingtohull. For now we were happy to have completed it successfully and we celebrated with ice cream and beer.
Ending the final stage in Hull.
Finally, here are some photos of the river from our final day's walk: