This is the last hike of 2020 on the Great rivers trail. This part goes from Nieuwpoort to Ameide. But because of the bad public transport connection to Nieuwpoort, I started in Schoonhoven. From Ameide, I can easily return to Rotterdam via Utrecht, or so I thought.
Once more through Schoonhoven
I don’t mind going through Schoonhoven again. It’s very misty, but that makes the lights stand out beautifully. I walk along the canal in the city centre again and then straight to the Veerpoort gate where the ferry is located. The ferry takes me to the other side of the Lek. Via the Veersedijk I walk to Nieuwpoort.
This time I won’t go around Nieuwpoort via the city ramparts, as the trail prescribes, I already did that last time. I now walk straight into the town from the west side. The street is lined with beautiful houses, but the mist gives everything an eerie impression. In the middle of Nieuwpoort is the town hall. I quickly take a few photos of the front and back and then continue south. I’m back on track of the Great rivers trail.
Want to see more photos of Nieuwpoort (and Schoonhoven) and the wonderful hike that goes with it? Check out my previous blog about the Great rivers trail.
I leave Nieuwpoort along the grand Nieuwpoortseweg. First I pass some houses and an industrial area, but soon the wide open polders come into sight. Although I can’t see very far because of the mist. I turn left and immediately turn right via a small overpass onto a grass path.
Wet grassy path
The grass is quite high and it is very wet because of the mist. In no time, my shoes and socks are soaking wet. I thought my shoes were waterproof, but perhaps I have not walked across such a wet grassy path with them before.
I try to walk a bit faster, which is very difficult with high grass and sopping shoes. Fortunately, there is a small crossing further on and I am on the normal road (if only I had mist this path 🙃). But I have to cross over and follow a grassy path again towards the Westermolen. At the mill, I have to turn left onto the Goudriaanse kade. What to do, I can continue over the cycle path on the other side of the road or turn left immediately over the normal road and cut off a piece of the trail.
I decide to turn left and follow the normal road. After this road, I can pick up the trail again later. Unfortunately, it is not a nice part to hike. I walk along a straight road called the Melkweg, where cars are allowed to drive 60 km per hour and often go even faster. I often stand on the roadside to let the cars pass, and with mist it is also quite dangerous. But I do have a chance to let my shoes dry.
The only nice thing I encountered on this road were white peacocks scurrying between the trees on an estate. I could not take a photo of them, they were too far away.
In hindsight, I could have also followed the ‘alternative route with dog’, as indicated in the trail booklet, but then I would have missed the next part completely and that is really the nicest part.
Path between the trees
At the Boonevlietweg, I can finally get off the normal road and continue over a path between the trees with tall oaks on both sides. At the beginning of the path, there is a broken barrier tape and notices about the oak processionary caterpillar. It is December, so the processionary caterpillars will not be here now, but from the remains of nests in the trees and on the ground, you can see that the processionary caterpillars have been ravaging the area this summer.
I am constantly looking around me to see if I can find any special birds. I also often look at the ground, because it is full of mushrooms. Every few metres, I come across different species. Some are spherical, others are jagged and I also see the familiar ones with stems and caps. I have no idea what species they are exactly and it is also difficult to find out afterwards. With birds, it is already tricky, but you can still recognise them by their sound. With mushrooms it is even more difficult. If anyone knows, please leave a message at the bottom of this blog post!
The path bends to the left. The oaks make way for alders. And suddenly I am surrounded by a group of small birds. They are small fluffy balls in black, white and grey, and even a little pink. They also have a long tail. These are long-tailed tits! I have not seen these before. How cute are they! They do not sit still for long and fly from branch to branch. If you look closely, you can see one sitting in the tree on the photo. For convenience, I have made an illustration of this cute little bird.
The tail of a Long-tailed Tit is longer than its body. They have a white head with black stripes down the side. The back and tail are also black with white on the sides. The wings have a reddish-brown base, but appear pink. The birds live in groups and are constantly talking to each other. The long-tailed tit is found everywhere in the Netherlands and is also present throughout the year. They are found in forests, parks and gardens with many trees and shrubs.
Source (in Dutch): Vogelbescherming
Further on the path turns into a grassy path again. Fortunately, the grass is not so high here and I can walk on without making my shoes even wetter. I walk along a piece of woodland where I hear the occasional woodpecker tapping. Then I come out at the Melkweg again. Here I have to turn right and soon, just after the water purification station, I turn left into Langesteinseweg.
Public transport hassles
There is little variation on this part of the trail and I quickly walk on towards Ameide. There I can catch the bus home. On the way, I check the NS app to see what time the bus leaves. I see that the normal connection via Utrecht will be a complete detour, as the train between Utrecht and Rotterdam is cancelled. I will have to make a detour via Schiphol Airport with an hour’s extra travelling time, and my normal travelling time was already around two hours.
Another way is to take the bus to Gorinchem (and then via Dordrecht to Rotterdam), but this can only be booked and has to be done at least half an hour in advance. That will have to do then. I call the number of the transport company, but the connection is immediately broken. Then I try to order a ticket via a certain app (I have no idea which app it was). First I have to download the app, but apparently I have the wrong one.
When I finally find the right app, I of course have to register first. An e-mail will be sent to me and I can log in. Somehow the registration doesn’t work either. It drives me crazy 😵💫, what a hassle! In the end, I decide to travel via Utrecht after all, and then sit on the train for an extra hour. At least I will have dry shoes when I get home.
After an almost perfect hike last time, now all sorts of things go wrong again. My soggy shoes and the chaotic journey back are the main causes. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant hike. Schoonhoven and Nieuwpoort are also beautiful in the mist and the part on the path between the trees was fantastic with the many mushrooms and the long-tailed tits. However, I would not want to walk there in the summer when the oak processionary caterpillar is present.
I do regret that I skipped the Goudriaanse kade. Who knows, I might visit it again. Note to self: plan your return journey in advance as well!
Where: from Nieuwpoort to Ameide, Zuid-Holland, the Netherlands.
No. of km: +/- 12 km (from Schoonhoven)
Hiking date: 12 December 2020
Materials used in illustrations: Coloured pencils for the map and watercolour paints for other illustrations
I have recently renamed the 3-star hikes to Fine hikes. The 5, 4, 2 and 1-star hikes will also get their own title. In this way, I am collecting the best (and not so best) hikes together. I will be adding the hikes to these categories retrospectively in the near future, with matching photos for you to save on Pinterest.
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