Yorkshire, Skipsea Beach

Skipsea Beach 03

I fell in love with Skipsea almost immediately.  I liked the caravan, I liked the holiday park, I liked the countryside and I liked the beach and the sea.  The exceptionally fine weather helped of course.

On the first day of the holiday we went to the beach.  The park owners said that due to severe coastal erosion there was no direct access to the sand and the sea but someone helpfully told us that there was but it was quite dangerous and the park owners didn’t want anyone taking legal action against them for having an accident.

We found the steps and made our way to a wide sand and the sea almost two or three miles long and only a dozen people on it.  It was empty, it was wonderful, it was wild, it was a millionaires private beach.

Skipsea Beach

I didn’t really expect to be swimming in the English North Sea but it seems that children don’t feel the cold and have no fear so they were straight in and I was obliged to follow.  Surprisingly it wasn’t too cold. The exceptionally fine weather helped of course.

Whilst we frolicked and swam in the waves I was taken back as though in a time machine to my childhood family holiday memories.

Bad weather didn’t stop us going to the beach and even if it was blowing a howling gale or there was some drizzle in the air we would be off to enjoy the sea.  If the weather was really bad we would put up a windbreak and huddle together inside it to try and keep warm.  Most of the time it was necessary to keep a woolly jumper on and in extreme cases a hat as well and Wellington boots were quite normal.  As soon as the temperature reached about five degrees centigrade or just slightly below we would be stripped off and sent for a dip in the wickedly cold North Sea in a sort of endurance test that I believe is even considered too tough to be included as part of Royal Marine Commando basic training.


After the paddle in the sea we would cover ourselves up in a towel and making sure we didn’t reveal our private parts struggled to remove the sopping wet bathing costume and get back to our more sensible woolly jumpers.  Then we would have a picnic consisting of cheese and sand sandwiches and stewed tea from a thermos flask – no fizzy drinks or coca-cola in those days.

If the sun did ever come out we used to get really badly burnt because when I was a boy sunscreen was for softies and we would regularly compete to see how much damage we could do to our bodies by turning them a vivid scarlet and then waiting for the moment that we would start to shed the damaged skin off.  After a day or two completely unprotected on the beach it was a challenge to see just how big a patch of barbequed epidermis could be removed from the shoulders in one piece and the competition between us children was to remove a complete layer of skin in one massive peel, a bit like stripping wallpaper, which would leave us looking like the victim of a nuclear accident.

Beach holidays in the fifties and sixties were gloriously simple.  The whole family would spend hours playing beach cricket on the hard sand, investigating rock pools and collecting crabs and small fish in little nets and keeping them for the day in little gaily coloured metal buckets before returning them to the sea at the end of the day.

I Spy At The Seaside

There were proper metal spades as well with wooden handles that were much better for digging holes and making sand castles than the plastic substitutes that replaced them a few years later.  Inflatable beach balls and rubber rings, plastic windmills on sticks and kites that were no more than a piece of cloth (later plastic), two sticks and a length of string that took abnormal amounts of patience to get into the air and then the aeronautical skills of the Wright brothers to keep them up there for any decent length of time.

I remember beach shops before they were replaced by amusement arcades with loads of cheap junk and beach games, cricket sets, lilos, buckets and spades, rubber balls and saucy seaside postcards.  I can remember dad and his friend Stan looking through them and laughing and as I got older and more aware trying to appear disinterested but sneaking a look for myself when I thought no one was watching.  I knew they were rude but I didn’t really know why.

What a glorious day this was and with the weather forecast predicting more of the same I knew that I would be doing the same thing all over again the next day.

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50 responses to “Yorkshire, Skipsea Beach

  1. Again, I like the no (or very few and dispersed) people aspect. Looks like a very nice beach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And …… the sand lingered in between toes (and private parts) for hours. No yobs on beaches either in those days or they’d have been “sorted”!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds about right, Andrew. I have very similar memories 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A wonderful description of a 50s seaside holiday, but you missed out the Kitkats. A foot long they were, not like today’s measly efforts!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A good beach day and some fabulous memories too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Perfect……but what happened to the caravan vow?!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brilliant piece. Do you go back to greet the other fossils washed out of the muddy cliffs and scattered around on the beach?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You lost me at caravan…..


  9. Hey ho…the days of I Spy


  10. Being South African I definitely don’t understand a beach holiday by the North Sea.. Way too cold for me.. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re brave! I have no idea how I survived days at the seaside as a kid. We used to go to Bridlington or Scarborough in the main, with the odd occasional diversion to Filey. However, the sea regardless of resort was always bloody freezing in my recollection. Also, given the sun block thing, it’s a wonder I still have any skin!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post!!! Brought back lots of memories of east coast holidays as children – although we went along the Norfolk coast, jolly bracing sometimes but always lovely – and as kids we didn’t care if it was a bit rainy! Wonderful to relive it now with grandchildren – I know my cousins have great days away to the seaside. Of course we live by the sea here just a mile south of Weston-super-Mare, the sea might be warmer, but I wouldn’t fancy it!!
    I’ve never been to Skipsea but I shall put it on my list!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m surprised your private parts had not risen out of sight


  14. I enjoyed reading about your childhood beach holidays. I’d love to go on a 50’s or early 60’s British beach holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As one gets older it is reassuring that children will always have fun at the seaside. Great photos Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We lived by the North Sea so had many days on the beach just as you describe. Proper spades are indeed the best for sandcastle building! The only memory I can add is being slathered in calamine lotion at night when I was so badly burned I could hardly move my arms enough to get my clothes off.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Brilliant post, Andrew!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Our grandparents lived near the beach in Central California, Andrew, and we spent many happy hours playing in the Pacific. The waters off the coast of California are similar to the waters of the North Sea… icy cold. But the weather was better. My grandfather loved to fish in the ocean so he preferred more remote beaches that were rarely crowded. As for sunburns, we could manage those just fine at home in the Sierra foothills. Our challenge was to see how brown we could be by the end of summer, however. And being California, we had a bit more sun than you did. Like every day. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Barbecued epidermis! Cheese and sand sandwiches!! “endurance test that I believe is even considered too tough to be included as part of Royal Marine Commando basic training.” Oh man, I love it when you are in this kind of mood when you write.


  20. Pingback: Yorkshire, Skipsea Beach — Have Bag, Will Travel – Rexton digital

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