When I did finally get to the church I found I had a half hour wait before the tower opened so I passed the time by wandering round the village and snapping a few photos. One of my quests while in Norfolk, and which will probably take me several years to complete, is to find and photograph the village signs of all the places I go through or to; the Happisburgh one was easy to find as it was on the corner of the lane leading to the church.
The church tower climb was managed by two very friendly church wardens with walkie-talkies, one at the top and the other at the bottom, and presumably for safety reasons they would radio through to let each other know when someone was going up or down. The first part of the climb was a steep and narrow 95-step spiral stone staircase with the second part being a just-as-steep steel spiral of 38 steps; it was definitely a test of heart and lung capacity, but when I finally reached the top the views were certainly worth the climb.
Across the fields immediately to the north was the little coastal village of Walcott, with Mundesley and the RAF 'golf ball' radar station at Trimingham in the far distance. Down below and looking south was the village pub, the cliff top caravan park and the lighthouse, while to the west level fields separated by trees and hedges and with farm buildings dotted here and there stretched as far as the eye could see. Information told me that on a clear day it's possible to see 30 churches, 2 lighthouses, 7 water towers, 5 corn mills, 5 drainage mills, 3 wind farms, Trimingham 'golf ball', Bacton Gas Terminal, Sea Palling reefs and the spire of Norwich Cathedral just over sixteen miles away - now that is certainly some view.
The warden was quite happy to point out some of the various places and tell me a bit about them, then when I was ready to go back down the tower he let the other warden know I was on my way and I started my descent. At the bottom of the steel staircase was a short narrow platform leading into the bell chamber which housed the huge cast iron bells, so I stopped to snap a couple of shots before continuing my slow descent down to ground level.
Back at the van I released the dogs, gave them a drink then went for a walk along the cliff top by the car park before finally stopping at the nearby tea room for coffee and cake; dogs were allowed in the garden so at least I didn't have to put them straight back in the van. Then with my thirst quenched and hunger pangs satisfied I went on to my next stop, FAITH animal sanctuary at Hickling, though as I passed through the small village of Ingham I pulled up briefly to photograph the village sign.
After calling at FAITH my next stop was to be a visit to Ranworth church tower to retake in the sunshine the photos I took on a cloudy day last year, but it was quite a distance from Hickling to Ranworth and by the time I'd finished looking round the sanctuary I felt it was too late in the afternoon to make the drive worthwhile - the church tower may well have been closed by the time I got there - so instead I drove into Hickling village itself and spent an hour wandering round the staithe, where I added a couple of dozen very colourful photos to my collection.
By the time I'd finished my walkabout it was gone 5pm - time to call it a day and head back to the camp site while there was still some sunshine left. Back at the tent I put the dogs on their line outside while I made a brew and something to eat, then when the sun finally dipped below the trees at the back of the site I brought them back in and settled down to watch a couple of hours of tv and read my book until it was time for bed.