Dale's UK Adventure

Horsey Beach

Sunday, 8-Feb-2004

Becca visited Horsey Beach yesterday and came across a group of seals with pups on the beach.

Tammy and I decided to do the same today. When we set off the weather seemed pleasant enough. Blue sky and a few clouds.

"Ecotricity" wind generator

I was too fascinated by the wind power farm, to consider that there might actually be a good reason for building a wind power farm here. This is the biggest generator on the farm, and is probably some sort of experiment. There are about a dozen smaller generators further off.

Wind power is great. Standing next to one of these renewal energy sources helps to allay some of the guilt of having driven a petrol powered car to get here. There weren't many birds about. I don't think they like them very much. Must be the lack of roosting.

Horsey wind pump

Further down the road there was more on the wind theme. This time Horsey wind pump. It's not a windmill because it doesn't do any milling. This one is (or was) used to move water around. A large part of the history of East Anglia involves draining water from the land through the use of a network of channels and wind pumps such as this one.

Muddy path to the beach

It was quite a walk to get to the beach. I guess this is why it is a relatively undiscovered beach, and why the seals chose it as a breeding site. The path was muddy and littered with puddles, some spanning all the way across. In one section we had to leap the fence and walk in the field (sorry Mr Farmer).

Sea defence barrier

By this time the sun was already setting and the weather was looking ominous. We were quite pleased to reach the gap in the sea defence barrier. This is a great concrete wall built to reinforce the dune, which is all part of an ongoing battle to keep the sea out. Apparently this part of England is sinking and the locals aren't very happy about the water coming in.

You can see the sea through the defence barrier. What I didn't know is that the North Sea, such as it is, is normally very flat. The fact that you can see waves means there is some really nasty weather afoot.

Tammy strolls down Horsey beach

Horsey is quite a pleasant beach, as far as English beaches go, if you can ignore the necessity to wrap up with several layers of clothing before visiting. We walked a short way down the beach to try to find the seals. This is a sandy beach, covered with a layer of pebbles. I've never seen a pebble beach before, so I found this one quite intriging. (Next week I will get to see a proper pebble beach at Aldeburgh.)

Sand flying in gale force winds

What you can't see in the picture is the really nasty weather front creeping up on us from behind. You also can't see that there are clouds of sand being blown along just above the surface of the beach. You can in the next picture. That's not snow, those are particles of sand being blown down the beach horizontally by gale force winds. The flash of the camera picked them up quite nicely.

We hadn't been on the beach very long, but at this point we decided it probably wasn't a very good idea to be strolling too far along. For one thing the return stroll would involve sandblasting by the facing wind. It was also getting dark and we didn't particularly enjoy the prospect of navigating the muddy path back to the car in the dark.

Muddy path back to the car in the dark

Too late. By the time we got back to the car it was even darker than this, thanks to the storm clouds. It's not so much a case of getting lost, and getting cold, wet, and hailed upon. Cold, wet and hail make walking down muddy paths so much more unpleasant.

We didn't ever find the seals. Apparently they were about half an hour's walk down the beach, which was far more than we were willing to attempt.

Some more pictures:

Tammy all dressed up for a day on the beach

Quite far to go still

Sea defences also need defending

Sand and pebbles co-exist peacefully

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