Day 2-1. Krummhörn-Upleward to Hooksiel.
Distance D 109.63 km Max 28.9 km/h Time 6.08:24 Average 17.8 km/h
Distance S 109.98 km Max 30.5 km/h Time 5.54:24 Average 18.6 km/h
Today started early, just a little earlier than we'd expected, at six in the morning. A gentleman in a tent round the other side of the bush from us, started shouting in his sleep. He didn't wake up although we did. After a few minutes he quietened down and seemed to be content with making deep resounding snoring sounds. "Oh well", we thought "we wanted to get up early so let's get up".
By half past seven we were finishing our coffee, having eaten breakfast and packed most of our stuff away. As with the day before, the sky didn't look all that promising as we started putting our bags back on our bikes. There was also a stiff breeze but fortunately it seemed to be going our way. By ten to eight we were ready to go and after a last stop at the loos headed back onto the NSCR. We started the day as we had finished the previous one: cycling up against a dyke. Actually, it was our choice to do so as we should have followed the NSCR through Osterberg, Manslagt and Pilsum which would have taken us away from the coast.
It was the good tailwind that made the choice to follow the dyke quite easy. With such a good breeze behind you these dyke paths can be fun. We also didn't feel like starting the day by visiting more cute East Frisian villages, so the alternative route was a good idea. Within minutes we were rolling along quite nicely on the smooth tarmac but took it gently for the first fifteen minutes. Our Smart SAM tyres, fitted a few days before we left were humming merrily underneath us. Around twenty minutes later we'd warmed up and stopped to adjust clothing just after we'd passed a gate. Shortly after the cycle path climbed up onto the top of the dyke, where another dyke joined it from the side. Here we got a view of the flat Watten and the grey sky. The grey sky didn't look like it was going to lift soon but this didn't mean we weren't in for an exciting day's cycle.
The excitement started within minutes as we approached the first 'Schafbeweidung' of the day. The sheep did the usual sheep-like things. Some just stared at us as we went past, some ran away from us and the dumbest, got up from their side of the track and ran across to the other side just as we drew level with them. Hmmmm. We had to go slowly through them as you can never be sure which class of sheep the next one would fall into. This slow going did seem a bit of a waste of that lovely tailwind.
A little further on we could see another gate and a much larger flock of sheep standing behind it. This looked like the sheep version the crush in front of Harrods of London just before the January sale started. We made our way to the gate to find lots and lots of sheep. Underneath the sheep there was lots and lots of the stuff that sheep produce after "Schafbeweidung". This suggested that we were on Day 13 of the cleaning cycle and, to make matters worse after the rain of the last couple of days, the poo had formed a layer of slime across the concrete. Most of these sheep had black faces and were a lot less interested in moving out of the way than their floppy-eared brethren in previous flock had been. We squelched our way slowly over the slime and past the sheep, the chunky treads on our tyres picking up slime as we went along.
Once past the sheep we carried on at full speed and our tyres started spraying slimy sheep poo all over our feet, legs and previously pristine bikes. Ho hum. Dykes, windmills and sheep poo. Still, it could have been a lot worse. It wasn't raining, we had a tailwind and the chunky tread pattern or our Smart Sams was cutting through the slime to the concrete below. Our Travel Contacts would not have been quite as secure in these conditions.
Not long after there was some more excitement. In the distance we saw a brightly coloured tower on top of the dyke. This turned out to be Pilsumer Leuchtturm and was, far and away the most distinctive object in the dyke landscape.