The first time that I went there in 2019, 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.
I returned again post covid in August 2021 and then again just nine months ago in July 2022. As the time approached to book a cheap Spring deal again earlier this year (2023) nothing would have stopped me going there again.
Let me explain about caravan holiday deals.
In the UK there is a very cheap and nasty daily newspaper (I use that description newspaper very loosely) called T’he Sun’ and several years ago they launched a voucher scheme that once collected allowed readers to book cheap caravan holidays in the UK.
The Sun newspaper is a curious conundrum, it supports the right wing Tory government and its extreme political views which cares nothing for the middle and working class and the middle and working class read the Sun and vote Tory. It is absolutely unbelievable.
I would never buy the Sun toilet tissue so I never got to benefit from the offer but a few years ago the voucher codes began to be published on-line so it was possible to get the offer without buying the rag.
So, I booked a caravan in my favourite resort of Skipsea for four nights for just £60, everything included. An absolute bargain.
On arrival, too early to book in, we took a walk to the seafront and were in for a nasty shock. Only nine months ago there were cliff top chalets which although being in danger of falling into the sea had a sort of seaside charm with friendly owners and there were steps down to the beach. All had changed.
A severe winter and a succession of storms had eroded the cliffs to danger levels, the local Council had negotiated a property exchange and compensation and after the no doubt relieved owners had moved out the gypsies had moved in and now there were caravans, ponies, big dogs, piles of rubbish, bonfires and the acrid smell of burning tyres. I felt immediately uneasy.
Where had they come from I wondered? Where had they come from I worried?
The village of Skipsea and the adjacent caravan site Skipsea Sands sits precariously on Yorkshire’s East Riding coast which is said to be the fastest eroding coastline in Europe. Since the Doomsday Book was completed in 1086 twenty-six villages along this stretch of coast have been lost to the sea. Cutting new steps to the beach is an annual job.
The advance of the sea is relentless. Every year along the Holderness coast nearly two metres of coastline is swept away, an estimated average of two million tonnes which is moved south on the tides towards the Humber estuary and builds new unwanted land there whilst it takes it away here where they would very much like to keep it.
Sea defences are just not financially viable (after all, it isn’t in the south of England), the area is officially designated as a zone of ‘no active intervention’ and it is inevitable that another twenty houses and a fish and chip shop will soon be lost to the waves. The Local Council is like King Canute and cannot control the sea.
These are houses that were built as recently as 1985 and at that time had long gardens and a road running along the front but that all seems rather foolish now. There were once houses on the other side of the road too but they had already gone which should perhaps have acted as a warning to the people who bought these properties as holiday homes. An especially violent storm in the winter of 2008 took the road away and the waves have gnawed away at the soft clay cliffs every year since.
The gypsy community is clearly prepared to take the risk, if the houses and all their rubbish fall into the sea they don’t really care, they will just move on. The Environment Agency should deal with it but I doubt the balls to do so. Gypsies can be tough people to deal with.
This was all rather disappointing, they had even blocked off access to the very fine beach. I try not to be judgemental but I don’t trust gypsies, I had several incidents with them in my working life, they live by a different set of social rules from normal folk.
Anyway, we weren’t going to let this setback spoil our holiday. Tonight we were staying in a caravan just five hundred yards away so I took the precaution of putting my wallet and car keys under the mattress before I went to sleep that night.
Gypsies are not known for their hospitality…