I begin with a question. What is the longest uninterrupted stretch of beach in the UK? I mean the longest stretch that can be walked end to end without having to leave it at any point to get around estuaries, rivers, cliffs, ports or towns?
To be honest I don’t have the answer, I have Googled it and there is no help but I am willing to wager that it is the Holderness coast in East Yorkshire. It stretches all the way from Bridlington harbour to Spun Head at the mouth of the Humber estuary and it is possible to walk the entire distance without ever leaving the sand. Few people know this because it isn’t in Cornwall or on the South coast and celebrities don’t make TV programmes about it. Is it just me but does anyone else get fed up with programmes about bloody Cornwall.
It stretches for a distance of thirty-seven miles.
I am more than happy to consider alternative suggestions of course.
I couldn’t manage the full thirty-seven miles in one day but today we planned to walk a seven mile stretch from the caravan park at Brampton Sands to Bridlington, a distance of about seven miles or so, give or take a yard or so.
We set off just after high tide. The weather was wild but not cold, big seas, a blustery wind that tugged at our shirt buttons and the occasional threat from a rogue wave that was in apparent denial that the tide was going out and not coming in as it swept in and rearranged the pebbles with a clattering sound like the percussion section of an orchestra.
For a mile or so there was no one else sharing our beach, deserted sands, pill-box remains fallen into the sea, a splendid lonely isolation as we walked on between the rapidly eroding cliffs on one side and the wild angry sea on the other.
Along the way we came across a colony of Swifts who had build nests in the cliff face. I say cliffs but this is soft mud not solid rock. Anyway they were going and coming at great speed and you will have to take my word for this because they are so fast that I was quite unable to catch a single picture of just one of them. They are the fastest land bird of all, flying at a speed of seventy miles an hour in level flight.
After leaving the nest a young bird spends up to four years in the air without coming down, they eat and sleep on the wing, they fly five hundred miles a day and most impressive of all they also mate in the air. To put that into perspective the only way a human can get a shag while flying is to join the mile high club on a Boeing 737.
A little further on we chanced upon some Oyster Catchers busy dining among the pebbles, they let us approach but not get too close before taking to flight but thankfully they were not as quick as the Swifts.
And then there was a problem. We came to a field drainage outfall that due to the recent heavy rains was in full flow, maybe two or three inches deep and about five yards wide. Maybe this was a turning back point? No, surely not!
I ventured forth and attempted to jump the fast flowing watery streams, I made the first and the second but then got carried away and quite forgot that what I could manage forty years ago I cannot manage now and took one optimistic jump too many and landed ankle deep in ice cold water with a resulting wet boot.
Kim was a lot more sensible and took time to collect rocks to make a stepping stone path and fifteen minutes later when she was eventually satisfied with her construction efforts daintily crossed over and we carried on. I manfully kept quiet about my wet foot and soggy sock.
After an hour or so we arrived at Bridlington South Beach, as good as any beach in England in my opinion, a fabulous stretch of golden sand, busy I guess in the Summer months but quite deserted today. Just a few dog walkers. I really liked it. I didn’t like the dog walkers.
From there we passed to the harbour, I was hoping to buy some Bridlington Bay lobster. I told you about that in a previous post.