Sunset at Camber Sands when the tide is out provides stunning views across towards Fairlight. There wasn’t any wind so the wet sand and standing water created lovely reflections. Rain was coming in from the west, and a bank of clouds were looming in the distance. This could be described as the calm before a storm, but that would be inaccurate as the weather that night couldn’t really be described as a storm. So it was the calm before the rain came.
Hundreds of seaÂ birdsÂ were wading at the water’s edge, enjoying the last few minutes of the day. There were several people on the beach too, walking their dogs or simply taking in the scenery.
These photographs of Camber Sands at sunset can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.
A walk on the beach is always nice but on certain days it can be magical. When this photo was taken the tide was at its lowest and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Usually there is theÂ constant noise of the waves breaking on the shingle. The noise of the waves and shingle is one of dominant sensory inputs when you are on the beaches of Hastings and St Leonards. It is only because the sound is constant that no one that lives by the sea particularly notices it.
It was quiet on this day though.Â It’s strange how the absence of noise can make a familiar place seem different. You could hear the distant sound of traffic on the road and the occasional cry of a seagull. These sounds seemed muted though. The quiet emphasised the beauty of the sceneÂ with the clear reflections in the wet sand and still rock pools. The feeling of space. That’s why living by the sea is great.
The photo can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.
When the tide is out and the sand along the beach exposed, it is usual to see men on the beach carrying a shovel with them. These men are on the hunt for the lugworm. The lugworm is a marine creature that lives in a U shaped burrow in the sand. They are the type of creature that don’t really seem to have much of a purpose, other than being excellent bait for fishermen.
And that is why men go out on the beach to dig them up. You can buy lugworms from certain specialist shops, but they are not cheap. Lots of money can be saved by getting them yourself. In a way you are fishing for the bait you intend to fish with. It is not easy either.
This website spells out the techniques used to catch lugworms. Even armed with that knowledge I think I would need to accompany an experienced lugwormer before I knew what I was doing.
That would not be an unpleasant way to spend some time on the beach. Particularly on a day like the day when these two photographs were taken. I wasn’t on the beach to hunt lugworms myself, but this chap was. He acted as an unknowing focal point for my pictures.
Sometime ago I was walking along the access road that runs between Winchelsea Beach and Rye Harbour. When walking in places I visit often I’m always on the look out for new perspectives to avoid taking the same photograph. The weather and time of day can offer plenty of variety to a scene, but a view across Rye Bay to Dungeness Power Station is still the same view no matter the weather.
About halfway along I noticed that someone had placed a large rock on top of one of the groynes. There was something about the composition of the two that was appealing to me.
I wondered for a while who placed the stone there and why. Perhaps theÂ personÂ wanted to create a different photograph themselves, or maybe to paint the view. I think it was deliberately placed for a reason, rather than someone sticking it there thoughtlessly. Whatever the reason it worked for me.Â I certainly wouldn’t have thought of creating a beach scultureÂ to add a feature to aÂ scene.
It’s something I’ll bear in mind for the future though.
You can view this scene of Rye Bay full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.
Camber Sands is a unique part of the East Sussex coastline. Whereas the majority of the beaches that stretch from Brighton to Dover have cliffs or shingle coastlines, Camber has lovely flat sandy beaches. Most other places around here only see sand at very low tide. Camber is a small area though, just 3km long.
As one of the few sandy beaches in this part of the country it attracts up to 25,000 people a day during the peak summer season.The sands are created by the constant erosion of the pebbles through the work of the sea and tides. These are deposited at Camber. When the tide goes out, as far as 1km here, the sun dries out the sand and the wind blows the loose grains inland. These grains gradually build up around grass, vegetation and other obstacles forming the dunes that rise above the beach. This process has been happening for centuries and continues to do so. Camber Sands are slowly growing.
Of course this is a special area for wildlife and biodiversity so is a site of Special Scientific Interest. It also interests film makers and has been used for several films including the 2014 Monuments Men.
They can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.
I visited Weston Super Mare a couple of months ago. I’d been there before with my parents, but couldn’t remember much about it. Apparently it was raining. It was much nicer on this visit. We arrived fairly early, or at least before the bulk of the tourists arrived. That meant that for a short while the beached were fairly empty and there wasn’t a queue for the donkey rides. The donkey my daughter went on was paired up with a trainee. The trainee donkey was allowed to the experienced one up and down the beach at leisure. That enabled me to get this shot of the pony almost alone with the pier.
The Grand Pier was almost destroyed by a fire in 2008, but has since had Â£34 million spent on a refit. I’m always interested in what other piers offer in comparison with what Hastings Pier used to be. At 400m in length it is bigger than Hastings Pier. The Grand Pier met my expectations by being mainly arcades and sweet shops. At the end there is considerable space for functions and a couple of restaurants. You are charged a couple of quid to get on there too.
As for Weston Super Mare itself, it is everything you would expect a popular seaside resort to be and nothing more. It has a nice sandy beach, but other than that everything on offer feels very similar to that at Hastings. It doesn’t have the history that Hastings does, nor the fabulous old town.These photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.
These three photos of St Leonards beach were all taken within ten minutes of each other. I could see that Marine Court was reflecting in the wet sand as I walked under the Pier.Â It’s sometimes hard to choose the shot I think works best. Of course, normally I shot several photos of the same scene from various angles and one of them normally stands out over the others. With these it is harder to choose I think. Each has its own merits so this blog post is a chance to show all three.
On this evening there was rainbow colours present in the triangular shaped cloud just to the left of Marine Court. This iridescent effect is caused by either ice crystals or water droplets refracting the sun rays. I tried to capture the colours but the camera sensor just picked up whiteness. OurÂ eyes are so much superior to camera technology in what they can detect. On the other hand,Â sometimes the memory is worse.
The Rye Harbour Pill Boxes were built in August 1940. They were designed to house the Vickers Medium Machine Gun, probably two per pill box. Their design is apparently a local variation of a series of bunker templates created by theÂ Directorate of Fortifications and Works, when they realised that the threat of invasion was real.
These pill boxes would have been part of extensive fortifications in the area including tank traps and barbed wire. Some of the tank traps can still be seen as you walk down to the Pill Boxes from Rye Harbour.
The ‘local variation’ doesn’t seem to take into account the usual weather conditions at Rye Harbour. They certainly weren’t built for comfort. The wind blows through them almost as they weren’t there. I don’t imagine they would have provided much defence to those inside, from either the elements or the enemy. They stand now as a reference to the past, and also a place for people to urinate in when they are caught short.
These photographs of the Rye Harbour Pill Boxes can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.