• Mike

Life's a Beach!

What is it about beaches? Great in the summer sun when packed with people and also fabulous when almost deserted in the winter time. Beaches, sand and sea get me in a place and do something to me that other landscapes find hard to reach.

This is one of my favourites! It has probably never graced a promotional picture and it is not part of an area known for it's tourism but it is special to me.

My Nana and Grandad lived neared here (God bless their souls) and my Auntie Collette and her friend Lizzie would bring me and my sister, Cath, here sometimes when were kids. In more recent years I have met my other sister, Helen, and her fab family here to walk dogs, exchange Christmas presents during Covid times and eat ice-cream with my nephew and niece.

Today I am here with my Mum and her dog. The cold wind that blows from the East is biting through our winter clothing and reminding us that the next land across the sea from here is Siberian. The cold is bracing in the best sense of the word and makes you feel alive. You can see the sand blowing just above the floor making wave like shapes of its own. The real waves are some 2 to 3 feet high and you can taste the salt from the spray of the waves when walking near the shore. The few Gulls that have dared take to the air are being blown at speed left to right across the sky and their cries, like the sound of the waves, are blown quickly out to sea.

Welcome to Seaton Carew. Found between the Teesside Power station at Billingham and the town of Hartlepool. Here industry meets nature. I can see the hulk of a gas rig being deconstructed for scrap at Tees Port only hundreds of yards away; the old ICI smelting plant across the bay at Redcar and the extractor chimneys of Billingham in the middle distance. To get here we crossed marshland and saw several large, fat, grey and mottled Seals lazing as they usually do here as part of a permanent and healthy growing population that gave the locality its official name of Seal Sands. There are large numbers of wading and migratory birds across this area and to me it all has a strange and familiar beauty.

Where are your favourite beaches? Let me know and

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