29 October 2014

Cleethorpes

Malibu? The Australian Gold Coast? Juan les Pins? Marbella? No my friends, if you want the real seaside you must travel to the jewel of the Lincolnshire coast, to the very mouth of the River Humber, to Cleethorpes. This is what South Yorkshire coal miners and Sheffield steelworkers did with their wives and families from the back end of the nineteenth century and that's what I did yesterday.

I caught a train from Sheffield - all the way to the seafront at Cleethorpes - one hour and forty minutes. I had never been there before though once long ago I was nearby when I watched Hull City beat Grimsby Town at Blundell Park. Grimsby and Cleethorpes are twin towns rather like Minneapolis and St Paul but at the edge of England. They are the sort of northern places that suffer unmerited jibes from ill-informed southerners. The same prejudicial humour that might surround Barnsley or Wigan, Darlington or Accrington.

I emerged from the railway station into bright sunshine. The tide was out and when the tide is out at Cleethorpes it goes out so far you would think that the oceans were running dry. A huge expanse of beach stretching out towards the lighthouse at Spurn which is on the East Yorkshire side of the entrance to the Humber Estuary.
View to Halle Sand Fort - erected during World War One
My planned walk took me down the coast to Humberston and then inland along Buck Beck where I turned north to Old Clee - the Saxon settlement that predated Victorian urban expansion and the growth of Grimsby's industrial fishing industry  by several centuries.

At the coast it was clear that we are in the schools half term holiday period as there were quite a lot of children around. I saw the Cleethorpes Light railway in operation, and families rowing on the boating lake but The Pleasure Island amusement park was already shut up for the winter. After eight miles of plodding, I got back to the seafront where I sat in Browns' Cafe with the seaside meal I had promised myself on the formica table in front of me - a jumbo haddock in golden batter with chips, mushy peas, a big mug of tea and a slice of bread and butter. A meal too good for a king.

And then I tried my hand in the "King Pin" amusement arcade, feeding 2p coins into one of those tipping point machines where coins push others from shelves but most seem to end up in the bowels of the machine for the owners' to later take to their bank in countless wheelbarrows.

By five fifteen it was already dark and I mounted the train back to Sheffield. At Grimsby Town station two men from East Timor sat close to me and I talked to one of them. As a refugee he had arrived in Portugal where after a few years he became a Portugese citizen and was issued with a Portugese passport. Of course this now entitled him to live and work in England. Humph! No comment on that but now some more coastal pictures from Cleethorpes where all your holiday dreams can come true...

20 comments:

  1. Retirement is good isn't it YP? Didn't we have a lovely time, the day we went to Cleethorpes ~ http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/d/daytrip.html

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    1. That song was meant to be about Rhyl but the writer realised she would have to change it or it would be deposited in the rubbish bin of musical failures. Rhyl is the next commenter's local town...

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    2. Fiddlers Dram were the band. "The day we went to Bangor." A great song. It was Bangor in Wales which is even more depressing than Cleethorpes. What is worse I played fife on the song and got swapped for a tosser on a whistle. Mind...He was better than I was.

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  2. I too have been to cleetgorpes twice
    Hated both times

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    1. Errr. I've just got on word to say to you Earl - Rhyl?

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  3. It is the definitive of a shit hole but you caught the positive side.
    I like the fourth or fifth from last. The one with wet sand. I think it would work well with my Remembrance Day tribute. Can you send it us at the highest resolution you have please. I will send you a bag of Toffee.

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    1. There are some lovely residential areas in Cleethorpes. I was nicely surprised by it.

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  4. Well, no wonder you have never been there, Mr. Pudding. Looks like any little village anywhere on the seaside trying to survive by ripping off the tourist trade. Back to the woods for you, eh my friend?

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    1. It isn't as bad as you paint it Mama Thyme. Working class people have descended on Cleethorpes for years because it is a place where they can dream a little. A place out of time.

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  5. Much, much different to our Gold Coast, that's for sure...and to our Sunshine Coast. It's reminiscent, however, to an area called "Redcliffe"...how it was in days of old. Much change there now...except for how the tides work, of course! :)

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    1. Redcliffe sounds like the name of a proper seaside resort. Gold Coast suggests California and cool people in sunglasses.

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    2. Well, the Gold Coast is a city which covers a huge expanse of many surf beaches, Yorky.

      The Sunshine Coast covers a lot of area, too. See below sites:

      http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/gold-coast-beaches-154.html

      http://www.resortsmooloolaba.com/sunshine-coast-beaches.html

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  6. No, I wouldn't mistake it for an Aussie beach, particularly not the Gold Coast. For one thing our sand is white and the beach is often backed by grassy sand dunes and for another, Aussie beaches don't do amusements and donkey rides. People are too busy swimming and surfing. Kids play in the sand and make sand castles and pools to sit in that are filled up by the waves as they rush in. We do have similar looking blue skies though the light is somehow different down here - harsher I fear.
    And we like our fish in breadcrumbs !

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    1. Fish in breadcrumbs? Yuk! That is a travesty of culinary justice. And what is surfing? .Is that when you put "Surf" in your washing machine?

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  7. Well, I did notice that no one told those gals near the donkeys that TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS.
    There are horse rentals on our favorite beach (Longbeach WA), though we never have rented them. We have dangerous rip tides but there are those who will play in the water anyhow. The tide at Cleethorpes certainly goes a long ways out!!! I'd be afraid of it suddenly coming back......Googled your Lighthouse at Spurn - LOVE lighthouse history. We've got several here on our Washington coastline and I never tire of going again to see them!

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    1. Personally I like to see ladies in tights that they imagine look like trousers. Once I walked into a charity shop and saw a young woman from behind -bending over in her tights/trousers. It jut about took my breath away I can tell you!

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    2. Personally, I liked the era when a few things were left to the imagination....Seems like 90% of the gals in tights around here are VERY OBESE and not particularly pleasing to have to put up with when trying to do one's grocery shopping, though I suppose it keeps me from impulse shopping as I suddenly have the urge to live on carrot sticks.

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    3. Isn't it funny how it mostly seem to be those who can - figure-wise - least afford it who wear the most tight-fitting clothes?

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  8. The picture with the ripples on the sand is great, love the light in that one.

    You had fish and chips and mushy peas AND bread and butter?!! By eck, I would have been full up by just the bread and butter alone!
    How cold was it? I was amazed at the one lady on the donkey rides picture, the toddler with her is barefoot...

    Is the seaside town in "The Headland" based on a real place? Not Cleethorpes, I suppose.

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    1. You are far too thin Miss Arian! German women are meant to be fat, You need to eat more sausages and consume more steins of foaming German beer. And no the seaside town in "The Headland" was not based on Cleethorpes but on a conglomerate of seaside places that reside in my fevered brain. Oh for the end of October the weather in Cleethorpes was very pleasant. I was walking in just a shirt! (Errr...plus trousers and boots of course!)

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