30 January 2011


View of The Humber from Paull

On Friday, I had to bobby on over to Hull's Royal Thai Consulate in order to acquire my work visa for Thailand. Afterwards, I thoroughly intended to drive along the north bank of the Humber estuary in order to visit Spurn Point where I planned to take a few photographs for the Geograph project. I had not ventured there since I was eighteen.

However, in Ottringham, I saw a signpost for "Sunk Island". It is a name I had often noticed on maps of East Yorkshire but I had never before been there. The Humber estuary is a wide and changeable meeting point for sea tides and huge volumes of river water. Peppered with mud flats, deep water channels, spits and marshes, it gives and it takes away. The map is never fixed. Here land and water seem to merge under endless skies.

In the middle ages, a great big sandbar lay off the coast south of Patrington. High tides covered it but gradually as the deposition of alluvial material increased, it emerged from the river and with drainage techniques borrowed from the Dutch, it became a vast 8000 acre estate of rich farmland. This is now Sunk Island.

How different is this landscape from the rugged Yorkshire Dales or the rolling chalk wolds that embrace East Yorkshire from Flamborough to High Hunsley. Sunk Island is as flat as a pancake. As the song goes, on a clear day you can see for ever and ever more. Farmsteads surrounded by hardy copses occur intermittently linked by single track lanes and in the centre of the "island" is the old school and the old church to which schoolchildren and parishioners must have trudged for miles.

I could see Grimsby over on the far south bank and the funnels of an ocean going vessel gliding by above the line of the island's Georgian embankment. A cold wind eddied about me straight off the North Sea. Perhaps there was a pattern of hedgerows there once - to impede the wind but now the vista is open with green winter sowings heralding the coming of springtime. It was a most strange and atmospheric landscape.

Sunk Island Images:-


  1. That view from Paull is very atmospheric! I don't recall ever hearing of Sunk Island during my college days in Hull - still, it was a long time ago. ;)

  2. Lovely images, YP -- both photographic and verbal.

  3. How interesting. Is it connected to land then or do you reach it by way of a bridge? I imagine the soil is very fertile. good to see this natural occurrence enhanced and put to good use.
    Have you ever seen the islands the Japanese make, then turn them into airport runways etc?

  4. Just catching up on your blog after a madly busy week! I haven't heard of Sunk Island either but I love Spurn Point, the Humber and its end-of-the-world feel. Have you been to the aquarium The Deep? Well worth a visit. I often work in Hull and always enjoy the journey and the strange, flat views and the great expanse of Humber.

  5. JENNY I imagine that as a student you had other things on your mind.
    PAT ARK You are so gracious. Thank you.
    HELEN Yes it has become connected to the land. The channel shown in one of my pictures is a reminder that once this really was an island....And I haven't seen those japanese islands you mentioned.
    DAPHNE Yes I have visited The Deep. If you ever get chance on one of your days in Hull, drive over to the village of Paull for lunch in one of its three waterfront pubs. The view of the Humber Bridge from there is superb.

  6. Lovely lighting. Very nice. There's a 'Monkey Island' Down in the Deep South of NZ. A tenuous link, i know.


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