(NB Blog updated April 2012 after pictures mysteriously disappeared)
What a fabulous day today (Sunday), summer has returned for the north of England, albeit for the time being and I picked the best day of the week to go for a walk with a good friend at Spurn Point in Yorkshire.
Click on any of the pics to enlarge them...
This is a walk which is great with a friend or if you like your own company, it's an ideal place to clear your thoughts and relax. Take sensible shoes and protection against sea breezes and you have a choice, a walk along the roadway. a narrow single concrete track, or do what we did because it was low tide, walk southwards along the eastern beach, round the head of the point and back up the western shoreline. It's one of the best kept secrets with miles of lovely beaches - virtually empty except a handful of people who are into the secret.
If it's sunny, like today, take sun cream, windburn/sunburn is a possibility. Why Spurn Point? It's famous for birdwatching and it's looked after by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and if you take a car on, it'll cost you three quid for the day. Please note, no dogs allowed.
One of many typical breakwaters protecting the delicate headland on the eastern North Sea facing beach.
Note the red seaweed washed ashore...
Note the red seaweed washed ashore...
But for me, who is largely ignorant about birds except the garden variety, it's the magnificent views across the River Humber toward Lincolnshire, down the river to the Humber Bridge far to the west and out into the vast North Sea with dozens of huge ocean going ships trading their way across the high seas. There is a lot of other wildlife other than birds including a vast array of insects, butterflies and moths.
Take plenty of time to get there by car, the latter part of the journey past Hull from the West is on pleasant but winding country roads with lots of 30 mph villages to drive through. We started the journey having parked just inside the entrance to the park and walked southwards along the eastern beach. There is a fantastic vista out into the North Sea and there were a lot of large ships heading south and some waiting to get into the Humber to the ports, but the bigger the ship, they then need a pilot and they often have to wait until one goes aboard.
Sands were clean and there were a lot of attractive worn and weathered breakwaters which added much interest. The sun was shining and the reflection from the sea was very hot. We passed the lighthouse which still works and can be seen from high ground from dozens of miles away even from the Yorkshire Wolds. It's automated now, no staff populate this old building. We only saw a couple of people on this leg of the journey which was easier walking on the shoreline where the sand was firmer. There are a few stones around of interest and we found an ammonite, a popular fossil.
Towards the head, you pass the coastguard station, a modern square grey building which has a magnificent view of the whole area. Approaching the head, the flotsam and jetsam increases with a few plastic bottles, crates, rigging, but nothing that spoils the scene because most of it is hidden by small rocks.
The sand at the head is magnificent, clean and wide and the sea is a lovely translucent green, a vivid comparison with the brown muddy waters of inland Humber water. There were a few more people here, perhaps four of fives groups of families, lost in the vastness of the available sand. We had a lovely lunch of home made sandwiches and fruit while sitting on a breakwater watching the water, following a DFDS container ship going into the Humber and looking at fair weather cloud scudding by.
We passed the Lifeboat, bobbing serenely on the calm sea and the pilot boat station at the end of a long jetty. The walk then turns north and we walked along the western side of the point with vast open gorgeous sands at the low tide, Gulls walked along the shoreline and there was lots of empty crab shells, a feast for some lucky birds. We passed the houses of the brave Lifeboat staff who put their lives at risk to save souls at sea. My thoughts went to my mother, who as a member of the Cottingham Women's Lifeboat Guild, has raised thousands upon thousands over the years to keep these boats at sea.
We walked back onto the roadway for the last half mile of the walk back to the car. Google maps indicate we walked about 9Km and we sauntered really in parts and sat and had a longish lunch break. Starting at 10.30 am and finishing at 2.40 pm, this was a very comfortable walk in excellent convivial company on a gorgeous day.
The view north along the western shore, under the jetty which leads to the Pilot's cutters and the lifeboat, and homeward bound
A Mr Moo's ice cream at the cafe just a couple of miles up the road was very welcome and a great end to the day. If you have a spare day - go for it - nature is amazing, but here's a word of warning. Don't go there if it is going to be stormy, the water can wash over the road in high storm weather and the road has been washed away in the past (rare event, but you don't need to be caught up in it).
Enjoy the week ahead.