The Land of the Yellow Belly

Lincolnshire-field-Threkingham.jpg

Lincolnshire… home of the Red Arrows, lots of RAF airfields and one of the best preserved copies of the Magna Carta. It’s a county which produces nearly 20% of all food eaten in the UK. Plus The World Egg Throwing competition apparently happens each year in Swaton, although unfortunately I haven’t experienced it yet.

Six months ago I moved to the enormously flat county of Lincolnshire and I haven’t blogged about it one bit. No words have come to my fingertips and the usual food pictures on my camera haven’t made their way to this page… that is until now.

I’ve come to notice a number of things which are distinctly Lincolnshirey (that is a word); from the lovely, to the amusing and the strange. I’ve decided to finally blog about them. The six months I’ve spent as an intern at Lincolnshire’s only university The University of Lincoln, has allowed me to submerge myself in the yellow belly county and I feel that I’ve just about got used to it.

So here it is, a little bit of Lincolnshire by a girl from Lancashire:

The Lincolnshire Sausage

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Right, lets get this out of the way first. If people have to mention something about this county it tends to be, “OOOOOOH that’s where those sausages come from!” YES, you would be correct, the tastiest sausage around (yes it is better than the Cumberland) comes from England’s second largest county, Lincolnshire. You have to buy them from a butchers to get the longest, fattest, fullest variety and when you do you’re in for a treat. The sausage is currently fighting for its right to have protected sausage status. At the recent Lincolnshire Sausage Festival (celebrated in and around Lincoln Cathedral and Castle) I spoke to a woman from the Lincolnshire Sausage Association. She stressed the need for donations to keep the sausage in the county it was created and she encouraged everyone to buy local. That’s if you can find a local butchers, these days they seem to be disappearing along with the green grocers and bakeries (damn you Tesco). If you want to find a trusty Lincolnshire butchers follow this link. I buy my sausages (when my miniscule internship budget allows) from Elite Meats in Lincoln’s Bailgate. They are fat and DELICIOUS.

The Flatlands

Lincolnshire Bike Ride (near Silk WIlloughby) -  14-04-2012
A Lincolnshire bike ride amongst a Rapeseed field (near Silk Willoughby)

Fields and fields and fields and some more fields. Once you’re out of Lincoln you notice immediately that there is an endless supply of fields. Instead of houses and shops lining the side of the road in Lincolnshire you get fields and very flat ones at that. My granddad (from Radcliffe) and his lovely wife Mary (from Moston) visited a few weeks ago and they just stared out of the window at it astonished at how flat it really is.

It’s true and it’s beautiful. In the few months that I’ve lived here I’ve noticed how the fields change as the seasons flow (my favourite being the Rapeseed fields) with different vegetables popping up here and there, you can always smell the stink of a cabbage field. People from Lincolnshire always try and tell you the county is actually really hilly and I understand there are some hills here and there, plus there are three steep ones dotted in and around Lincoln (not the largest amount) BUT it’s never hilly. The hills around Lincoln are mini ones and when you’re stood on the top of the Cathedral or on the top of Tattershall castle you can tell, it’s FLAT. The serious worry I have at the moment is…

When it snows where am I going to sledge?!

Britain’s Best Street 2012 – Steep Hill

Britain's Best Street 2012 Lincoln - Steep Hill
Britain’s Best Street 2012 Lincoln – Steep Hill (nearing the top that’s why it looks flat) – taken by WildYellowBelly Photography

Steep Hill is magical. At this time of year, when the air is crisp and the fairy lights start getting turned on, Steep Hill gives me goose bumps. As you climb (and you do have to climb, it’s not called steep for nothing) and clamber over the cobbles your eyes are drawn to all the different window displays. Flowers, sweets, books, clothes, coffee, chocolates, Russian dolls, meals, vintage, cakes, shoes, Asian tea, antiques…you name it you’ll find it along Steep Hill. I LOVE IT. I often find myself wandering up it purely to window shop. I’ve decided that it’s seriously one of the best strolling experiences I’ve had in the history of my travels. I’ve heard colleagues and Lincolnshire friends and family say that they rarely go up it, they forget about it as it’s a tourist site. What a mistake! It’s not just for tourists, I don’t feel like it’ll ever get dull. I often can’t wait to leave the standard city below and head up the hill to something different. If you haven’t done it DO IT.

Red Routes

Lincolnshire The Red Route Project
Lincolnshire’s Red Route Project

One of the things I’ve come to dislike about Lincolnshire are its roads. They. Are. So. Dangerous. Lots of overtaking, sudden corners and ignored speed limits. The amount of accidents that litter the roads is crazy. My work day always starts with colleagues telling stories of car accidents which they’ve either driven past or queued behind. That’s why I’ve decided to mention Lincolnshire’s Red Routes. I had never heard of one before living here, they’re probably in other counties but for me a Red Route = Lincolnshire. The Lincolnshire Red Route Project names and shames Lincolnshire’s deadliest roads with signs that state the number of deaths that have occurred on a particular road in that month. According to statistics the signs, which show a shocking number of deaths, have managed to reduce the number of road fatalities. So, despite the shock of reading the signs they appear to be doing some good.

Farm Traffic

Lincolnshire - Farm traffic delays
Lincolnshire – Farm traffic delays

You’re on your way somewhere but it’s taking a really long time. Why is that? Oh, I know there’s a TRACTOR and some other monstrous farming machine holding up the road. This is a common occurrence in Lincolnshire, farm traffic litters the road. It’s understandable with all the fields, Lincolnshire is farming heaven but it doesn’t mean that the sight of another tractor five cars in front of you isn’t frustrating. I’ve been told that if there are ten cars queuing behind a tractor they have to pull over and let the cars past… possibly an urban myth. You’ll know when you’ve hit the county as soon as you’re in a long farm traffic queue which includes machines that look like they’re from another planet.

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral - Jubliee Weekend -  04-06-2012
Lincoln Cathedral – at one time (a very long time ago) it was one of the tallest buildings in the world

Two roof tours, one official floor tour, a few unofficial floor wanderings, a flower festival and a free wander on a Sunday…..that’s the collection of Cathedral experiences I’ve managed to gather since I arrived in Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire Cathedral dominates the top of Steep Hill, it was once the world’s tallest building. It can be seen for miles and miles on a clear day. In my opinion stunning doesn’t even come close. I admit that I am a sucker for an old building but seriously I think you’d struggle to find someone who would dismiss it as just another big church. It’s astonishing from the outside as well as from within. Hunting out Lincoln’s famous mischievous Imp is always a fun thing to do on your first trip, especially when you can light it up for 20p!!! The Lincoln Cathedral Flower Festival which took over the whole cathedral for a weekend in August was incredible, I’d recommend it. I’m yet to take in a cathedral tower tour but it’s on my list and I can’t wait.

Low Flying Pheasants

Pheasant
Pheasant… a bad flyer

Pheasants are absolutely stupid (tasty and beautiful but still stupid). I hadn’t realised this before moving to Lincolnshire but they are. They are really easily scared and very clumsy (no wonder every one shoots them). You barely walk/drive/run/cycle near one and they have a fit which results in them barely managing to fly away. Flying doesn’t seem to be one of their best skills. Driving along Lincolnshire roads you’ll often startle a pheasant who will then decide to fly really low and awkwardly close to your car. This unfortunately leads me onto my next Lincolnshirey thing…

Road Kill

Road Kill Cartoon
Road kill is a common sight in Lincolnshire

I don’t even bat an eyelid to a squashed bit of road kill anymore, it’s very common in this county. Rabbits, pheasants, pigeons, badgers, moles, hedgehogs, the occasional fox and sadly a few cats. I won’t dwell on this one as I’m sure you get the message loud and clear from ‘road kill’. It really shocked me at first as I don’t think I’ve seen many squashed animals on the North-Western city streets I grew up on but now I’m sadly accustomed to it.

Lincs FM

Lincs FM
Lincs FM super cheese

You’re in a club, it’s nearing 1am and you’re suddenly desperate for Take That ‘Never Forget’ to be played. You’ve jumped along to to ‘Mr Brightside’, you’ve screamed to ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’, everyone’s held hands while passionately shouting out ‘Champagne Supernova’. This soundtrack doesn’t just belong at the end of a drunken night out, it belongs in another place too….

Lincs FM 102.2. Hits and Memories from the Humber to the Wash.

If you are yet to experience Lincolnshire’s premier station, drive over the border and tune in!

Train Crossings

Lincoln - train crossing
Lincoln’s train crossings are a right pain

Wasting ten minutes of your lunch break or turning up late for work is an common occurrence In Lincoln(shire). During my induction at The University of Lincoln the Estates Manager blew by mind with the following fact:

The train barriers in Lincoln are down for 45 minutes of every hour.

At first it shocked me. There’s no way that could be true. However once you start living in Lincoln you realise it is. The train barriers are down alllllll the time. Plus they’re not just down to let little passenger trains trundle past they stay down for HOURS (technically minutes) to let ridiculously long freight trains through. There is light at the end of the tunnel though (haha tunnel, get it…oh dear). Network Rail have submitted plans to build a pedestrian foot bridge at the Brayford crossing…YES! Cars will still have to wait but at least I’ll get to work* on time (*won’t be working here by then duh). To view the footbridge plans click here.

No H&M

HM-shoppingbags
Where is H&M?

A quick word of warning if you’re thinking of moving to Lincolnshire. THERE IS NO H&M IN THE WHOLE COUNTY (or Zara or Urban Outfitters). A GAP Outlet store has just opened which is an improvement but seriously it’s a University city and there is no H&M…it blows my mind.

The Red Arrows and the RAF

Lincolnshire - the home of the Red Arrows
Lincolnshire – the home of the Red Arrows

On the day of the Olympic and Paralympic parade in London I walked out of work at the end of the day wishing I worked in London. A loud noise made me look up only to see the Red Arrows flying in formation with red, white and blue smoke pouring from their engines!!!! They’d just chosen that moment (I’m not making this up) to fly over the University on their return journey from the parade….RESULT. That’s one of the coolest bonuses of living in Lincolnshire, free sightings of the Red Arrows! A wide variety of planes always appear in the skies above Lincolnshire because it’s home to a large number of RAF bases. Check out this fact (that I just stole from Google)…

In WW2 Lincolnshire was known as the Bomber County because it had more airfields for RAF planes than anywhere else in the UK.

One of the most bizarre sightings you can see in Lincolnshire is that of an RAF AWAC, they look freaky/scary/cool.They live at my local RAF base (never thought I’d say that) of Waddington so they often fly right past my house. Unfortunately my local RAF base is now also home to the RAF’s first squadron of armed drone aircraft (known as Reapers).

Autumn in Lincolnshire at Normanby Hall
Autumn in Lincolnshire at Normanby Hall – taken by WildYellowBelly Photography

BOOM there you have it ladies and gentlemen a little slice of Lincolnshire by a girl from Lancashire.

Thanks for reading/scrolling/skimming down this page.

P.S. In case you’re still wondering a Yellow Belly is some from Lincolnshire…

7 Comments

  1. fred

    Lovely article. I’m pleased you like Lincolnshire.
    On a technical note, Lincolnshire is actually the 3rd biggest county behind Yorkshire and Devon. It used to be 2nd, but with boundary changes and local government meddling its slipped to 3rd.

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