7 June 2016

Spurn

The last time I went to Spurn Point I was eighteen years old. Having just passed my driving test I motored nervously across The Plain of Holderness through Patrington, Easington and Kilnsea until Spurn's narrow peninsula came into view.

It guards the entrance to The Humber Estuary and through the shifting of tides, the battering of storms and natural  cycles of erosion and deposition, Spurn Point has seen many changes through the centuries.

In the summer of 1972, there was a complete concrete roadway that led visitors to the very end of the peninsula where there are two lighthouses, a major  coastguard station, lifeboat men's dwelling houses and several wartime bunkers hidden in the dunes. But yesterday afternoon, there was no way that Shirley and I could have driven to the end because Spurn was breached by the sea in December 2013 and a large chunk of the old roadway was simply washed away.

Where grassy dunes once supported concrete roadway slabs there's now a shingle bank. Consequently, the way that most visitors now reach the end of Spurn Head is by walking - three miles there and three miles back. The breached section is about three hundred yards in length and when tides are particularly high, the sea washes across it. Being aware of tide information is essential.

Yesterday's afternoon was beautiful and summery with hardly a breath of wind. We had sandwiches in my rucksack, a sausage roll, an orange and a curd tart as well as bottles of water. Shirley had never been to Spurn before but she loved it - especially beach-combing. She even spotted the rotted carcass of what I believe was a dolphin but my camera  battery had run out by that point.. 

Spurn  is a very atmospheric place with unusual plants and birdlife. It has witnessed so much marine activity - from Viking longboats to modern oil tankers. The North Sea laps on one side and the muddy Humber Estuary's brown waters on the other. Interesting flotsam and jetsam washes up on both sides of the spit. Magically, we had it all to ourselves and even found a bench in the dunes at the very end of the peninsula where we enjoyed our picnic before heading back.

It was a grand excursion but without a hat or suncream protection, I was feeling very woozy when we finally got back to the car. Naturally, we had to stop off at "The White Horse" in Easington for cooling drinks before carrying on to our Bed and Breakfast accommodation in Holmpton. It had all been  so lovely, so uplifting. Yet I realise that with a forty five year gap between my two visits to Spurn I shall probably never go back there again and that makes me feel a little sad. It is a special place. A sparkling teardrop that hangs from the very end of Yorkshire - fragile, sweet and ever-changing.

27 comments:

  1. Well, our question has been answered! You didn't spurn us after all, instead you went to Spurn!

    And here we were, your loyal subjects, Lord Pud, worried half to death over your absence when all the time you were gamboling over sand dunes and along the beach without a care in the world!

    You are forgiven, though...because it looks like a great place to gambol!

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    1. Gambolling is a vice I have always tried to steer clear of Lee. You can lose a fortune through gambolling.

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    2. Only if you have loose change and notes flopping about in loose, open pockets, Yorkie!

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    3. Ha-ha! You're s daft as me madam!

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  2. That first photo...is quite breathtaking yp

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  3. The magic quality of the place really comes through your photos and description. The melancholy tinge only adds to that.
    How odd that there was nobody else about, in spite of the weather!

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    1. Thank you Miss Arian. Without a hire car it would be very difficult - almost impossible for you and your sister to reach Spurn during one of your Yorkshire holidays... but if the weather was good I know that you would also love the place.

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  4. I have never been to Spurn in spite of living in Lincolnshire for the first twenty odd years of my life. It is somewhere I always wanted to go.

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    1. Well I hope that my pictures helped to take you there in a virtual way Mrs Weaver.

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  5. Lovely photos, as usual, YP....and not an ice cream van in sight !
    How did that wheelbarrow get there I wonder? Not the first choice of transport for an illegal migrant, I wouldn't have thought.

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    1. Thank you ma'am but I am not at all sure that your comment is politically correct CG. I may have to report you to The Thought Police.

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    2. They'll have to catch me first !

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  6. Beautiful pictures as always! I love that wheelbarrow shot. Another place I've never heard about and now want to visit!

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    1. Thank you Steve. Spurn is a hard place to get to but on a warm summer's day well worth the effort. With your talents you would certainly capture some wonderful shots.

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  7. Looks like my visit there during my 2011 UK trip was well timed then. A unique place. I stopped off at Burton Constable on the way back.

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    1. Tht's funny. My wife and I also visited Burton Constable on this trip. Thanks for dropping by again Michael.

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  8. Love the grassy photo. Could be a painting !

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  9. The first one , I mean, not the lady one

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    1. What "lady one" Helen? Don't worry I know what Australian wine can do to the mind!

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  10. Stunning photos. Makes me wish that I lived closer to the sea.

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    1. Me too Sue. Being by the sea will often help to put ordinary life into better perspective.

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  11. If your lunch was so large as to need a wheelbarrow, your lunch was too large. Are the two buildings the two lighthouses? One looks like a prison guardhouse and the other a bit like an abandoned silo. I'd not like to be a light keeper in either one!
    Lovely pics....could very well be the beach on the western coast of my lovely state!

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    1. The building that looks like a prison guardhouse is The Humber Pilots Station. It looks out over the entrance to The Humber and its occupants are responsible for controlling shipping.

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  12. Thanks for this virtual trip YP. It looks a great place to stand and look and breathe and feel alive...it also puts me in mind of Jutland (that place that was on Coast with the longest sand dune) in Denmark..I'd like to visit both places....and living here in the midlands I do miss being able to get to the coast as frequently as others.

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    1. Sheffield is also far from the sea and like you I feel kind of sorry that I don't live closer to it.

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  13. I wonder if the flora and fauna has changed a little since the demise of the roadway. Wetlands are indeed wonderful places of blooming life.

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