Swifty Scooting around Hull - 2017 UK City of Culture
Swifty Scooting around Hull...
I have been to Hull a few times over the past couple of years and often thought that its reputation as a rather grim, downtrodden city to be unfair and that the notorious 'Crap Town' title given to Hull back in 2003 is simply not true. I needed to go back and spend some real-time in the city to discover some of the best places in and around the Hull region. This year is a special year for the city as Hull has the chance to change its perception far beyond the Humber Bridge because the city is the official 2017 UK City of Culture taking over from last year’s titleholders - Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
I decided to pay a visit on one Saturday in March and with the cultural programme in full swing, I would take my Swifty Scooter over to the city and ride around some of the East Riding of Yorkshire’s famous places including the Humber Bridge, Hull, Bridlington and Beverley.
Together with a Northern Rail Day Ranger ticket and my Swifty Scooter, I hopped off the train at Hessle and made my first stop on the River Humber to see something extraordinary.
Swifty Stop-Offs in Hull and East Yorkshire...
The Humber Bridge connecting East Yorkshire with North Lincolnshire is one of Britain’s iconic structures and a marvel of the modern world. Opened in 1981 and free to cross by bike or on foot with a £1.50 charge for cars, this is a unique cycling experience and offers great views across the Humber Estuary.
Interestingly, it is still the longest pedestrian and cycling bridge in the world and at one point was the longest suspension bridge in the world at over 1.5km in span. As probably the first person to cross the Humber on a Swifty Scooter, I felt honoured to be a very small part of the bridge's history!
Hull City Centre
Upon leaving the impressive Hull Paragon transport Interchange, I scooted across the main road and onto the recently pedestrianised shopping centre. Hull seems to have rebuilt its city centre and created a shopping centre to rival other key cities in the north.
The city centre was widely devastated during the Second World War and much of the rebuilding was done in a harsh modernist or brutalist style. Ironically after being derided for many years, this style of architecture is starting to become fashionable like vintage shops and vinyl records and there is now a campaign to save the large 1960's ‘Three Ships’ mural on the defunct, but vast BHS store.
One of the main highlights of the 2017 cultural programme is a temporary installation that showcases in dramatic style how Hull is emerging from its post-industrial decline to become a world leader in renewable energy technology.
The German industrial giant Siemens is building a wind turbine factory in one of the former Hull docklands and as a gift to the city have installed a huge 75m turbine blade in the Queen Victoria Square in collaboration with the artist Noyan Kulkarni.