I mentioned this in a previous post – Bridlington is the lobster capital of Europe, landing over three hundred tonnes of North Sea lobster a year and this staggering amount is more than anywhere else in Europe.
According to the Government’s Marine Management Organisation, lobster fetches the highest average price of all species landed by the UK fleet at over £10 per kilogram, they account for only two per cent of the weight of shellfish landings, but twelve per cent of the value. Which is why Bridlington, which lands almost no actual fish, is Yorkshire’s most lucrative fishing port. The shellfish it lands is worth £7.2m more than all the fish and shellfish landed at Grimsby and Whitby combined £4m of which is accounted for by lobster.
As we completed the beach walk and entered the town via the harbour I thought that I might find a fishmonger and get some lobster to take home.
This proved to be rather more difficult than I imagined. Almost all of the lobster is exported to Europe because in the UK we don’t eat a lot of lobster and they certainly don’t eat a lot of lobster in Bridlington because it is just too expensive for a town teetering on the lower end of the UK deprivation scale – 5 out of 10, so just below average.
I found it difficult to even find a fishmonger and when I did the lobster for sale looked rather pathetic, not like a premier display of sea food that I was hoping for so I quickly abandoned the idea.
Instead I thought that we mind find a seafood restaurant and have some lobster for lunch. We found a likely promising place on the harbour and scanned the menu in the window. Plenty of fish on offer but by the lobster choices was a hand written note – not available today. That was the end of the quest for lobster in Bridlington.
So instead I will have to tell you about my disastrous lobster meal in La Rochelle in France twenty years ago in 2003.
To set the scene I have to go back five years when I was there on a business trip looking at Semat Refuse Collection Vehicles and the company salesman took us out in the evening to a restaurant called Andre’s, a top class sea food restaurant on the harbour.
Back to 2003 now and with the family I was showing off and booked a table at Andre’s with the intention of eating lobster. Everything was going to plan, I ordered, Sally my daughter, selected crab and Jonathan, my son, went for the steak and then the evening fell rapidly part.
The waiter came to the table and introduced me to a live lobster for my approval. I wasn’t expecting that and neither was Sally who immediately burst into tears. This really spoilt the evening, no one wanted the lobster after that and I had to eat the whole thing myself and most of the crab as well. Jonathan carried on as nothing had happened and made his way through his steak dinner.
For a few years after that every time Sally asked for money for this, that or the other and if I said no she would recall the expensive incident and just look me in the eye and blackmail me with the line – “Dad, do you remember – €50 for a lobster!”
On the final day at Skipsea Sands Holiday Park we drove north of Bridlington to Sewerby Hall, a Grade I listed Georgian country house set in fifty acres of landscaped gardens. There is a very good herbaceous garden that Gertrude Jekyll would have been proud of but it was too early in the year to see it at its absolute best.
The Hall itself was interesting with rooms decorated and furnished in keeping with the period, a film show, a dressing up room and some interesting reconstructions and story boards.
When we had finished with the Hall we walked three miles to Bridlington, this time along the North Beach. We planned to stop for a drink but there were some black clouds beginning to form so we walked the three miles back to Sewerby Hall in about half the time that it took to walk the opposite way.
This was our fourth time at Skipsea Sands Holiday Park and we agreed that it could well be our last but never say never again and who knows? It costs less than £10 a night to hire a holiday home (caravan) at this time of year. Maybe we will be back again same time next year.