We’d been hoping and hoping to make it to the coast over the summer but it hadn’t quite been happening, not least because the weather had been less than favourable on the days when John was off work (although we do go to the beach on rainy and windy days too, only this time we wanted to try and get there on a sunny day). With the promise of good weather over the weekend, we planned for Sunday to get out and about. We decided to try for somewhere a little quieter and settled on Hornsea and then on to Mappleton Sands.
(a couple of these photos are really bright – I think I hit the exposure button whilst trying to take one-handed photos whilst holding Anna)
Ted is a lot happier on land than in sea (he doesn’t like getting in too deep). Digging and stones are more his thing, he needed a hand to hold to jump waves in the sea. His older sister is, typically, to be seen still in the sea behind him – she’d spend most of the day in the water.
Ted wasn’t too impressed at being buried in the sand, though, and had his sunhat below his head in an effort to not get sand in his hair. He came out from under the sand as soon as he could.
Nin, on the other hand, thought it was great fun!
Anna looked rather bemused by it all as she sat on the beach with me (because that North Sea over there is cold – John kept coming out to warm up before going back in).
We watched Nin, Ted and John play in the sea (or sand) and the boats go by.
Nin and Ted started climbing on the rocks behind me and Ted slipped and grazed his back quite badly. It being a Sunday the beach First Aid station was closed. This was all rather ironic as that very morning, before we left, I had contemplated taking the First Aid kit with me (as I thought I should really) and had decided against it as being ‘just one more thing to carry’ – it just goes to show that I should really trust my initial gut instinct! Luckily Hornsea Leisure Centre is on the sea front and they were open, so I took him in there to be cleaned up.
After this mini-drama we decided it was a good time to get a bite to eat (we brought tomato and bacon bread; butter; cheese; cake; some biscuits; strawberries and a couple of bottles of water with us for a packed lunch) and then move on to Mappleton Sands.
Although Hornsea was by no means packed when we visited (although it was fairly busy), Mappleton Sands was an altogether quieter affair.
Mappleton Sands is an interesting place. Like quite a few parts of the Holderness (East Yorkshire) coast, it’s falling into the sea – indeed, roads and even houses are also being lost on some parts of the coast (you can read about this at East Riding ofYorkshire Council’s “About Our Coastline
“). Mappleton’s ‘cliffs’ are of mud and the beach is littered with stony clumps of it. The cliffs below are taller than they look (I realise there’s no comparison point below).
I also found this video from the British Geological Survey
about coastal erosion and landslides on this stretch of coastline.
This stretch of the coast is also a very popular place for fossil hunting
. We spent some time sifting through the (many) rocks and stones littering the beach and found all sorts of fossils, such as the one below:
I also found a lovely one of what looks like barnacles set in black stone on the beach at Hornsea (although I don’t have a photo of it). I wonder whether the fossil above is a fish? Or perhaps the fronds of some plant. I have no idea. I also need to take a photo of a snail-shell shaped fossil – possibly an ammonite? – that is literally a ‘stone shell’ (not the shape of one set in rock). The children were fascinated and excitedly searched through looking for more. Luckily the local museum is having a fossil identification day where members of the public are welcome to bring any fossils in for h
elp with identifying them.
The shadows were beginning to lengthen at this point, so we headed for home.
We saw many wind turbines scattered across the country (and the large chimneys of more regular power stations). Anna began to scream when we got to Hull (as John took a different route on the way back), so we stopped off in a hotel car park by a quay so I could feed her.
John, Nin and Ted wandered over to look at the boats, including a floating lightship called “The Spurn” (link to Hull City Council site). Information from Wikipedia:
The Spurn Lightship (LV No 12) is a lightvessel (i.e. a ship used as a lighthouse) currently anchored in Hull Marina in the British city of Kingston upon Hull, England. The ship was built in 1927 and served for 48 years as a navigation aid in the approaches of the Humber Estuary, were it was stationed 4½ miles east of Spurn Point. The light ship was decommissioned in 1975 and bought/restored by Hull City council in 1983 before being moved to Hull marina as a museum in 1987. It is usually open between early April and end September. Access is free but has been at weekends only in the last year or so because of staff shortages. Wheelchair access is not possible. Sensible shoes must be worn and small children closely supervised.
A good place for a pit-stop that offered a quick bit of interest for small children whilst waiting for their little sister to be fed!
All-in-all I would recommend both Hornsea and Mappleton for a day out at the beach: Hornsea for its traditional ‘English seaside’ feel, without the crowds or ‘in your face tackiness’ of some other coastal resorts. It was busy (the car park was packed – but then it doubled up as parking for the leisure centre), with people sat on the sea walls with their fish and chips; windbreaks and barbecues (and a few cans of lager) on the beach; but unlike other, larger, towns, it wasn’t so crowded that we were tripping over people (Bridlington can be a bit of a pain for feeling suffocated by people) and we weren’t surrounded by the blare of gaming and gambling arcades [etc] (although I did note a couple of arcades, but they weren’t loud or particularly flashy). When we return (and we will return) there, I would like to have a walk around some of the little shops I noted as we drove through and visit the museum (which I thought would’ve been closed, but as we drove past it was open on a Sunday).
Visited on a week day I can imagine that Mappleton would be quite empty, it was hardly ‘busy’ when we got there – although we took one of the last spaces in the tiny, tiny car park, but I got the impression that the people that were there were fairly local, having a trip to the beach after Sunday dinner for an amble with the dogs, or a quick game of cricket with the kids. The beach was very different from Hornsea (just a couple of miles away) and we plan to go back on a week day when it is very likely that it would be very quiet, us and a few dog walkers.
We’re certainly looking forward to making our way back to the beach(es) sometime soon!