Sunday 10 May 2015
Spurn Head, then Kilnsea to Withernsea
Withernsea Sands Caravan Park
An extra early start this morning. By 6.30 am I was setting off to walk the 9 miles to Spurn Head and back before breakfast. It was nice to be carrying nothing for once; I felt so light. It was a chilly, breezy and grey morning so the views across the mouth of the Humber weren’t as good as they might have been but the trade off was the early peace and quiet. Spurn Head is another important nature reserve and I saw 3 heligoland bird traps (like big cages) where migrating birds are caught and ringed. There were no birds in them. There were lots of signs warning about the brown tail moth caterpillar, which apparently can cause skin irritations. There were millions of these creatures, some of them trying to hitch a ride on my boot laces! Many were in large clumps on the spiky bushes.
Matthew’s lighthouse is not quite at the tip of Spurn Head and isn’t yet open to the public (Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are working on it) so I carried on to the only permanently manned UK lifeboat station, where the new shift was arriving. Six days on and 6 off, not a bad rota. I stumbled around through the thick undergrowth and ruins of a military fort trying to find enough height to get a view, it was difficult.
After half an hour wandering around I headed back before high tide when there is a risk of getting wet feet. The road has been washed away (I presume in the December 2013 storms) and it’s evident that Spurn Head is moving West relatively quickly. In fact I was surprised to read that the Holderness area (This part of the Yorkshire East coast) has lost 14 settlements to the sea in recent times. Kilnsea used to be further East not that long ago and the road still heads into the sea.
I packed up my tent and headed to the Bluebell cafe for a late breakfast. Yet another culinary disappointment to add to this week’s long list. The ladies working there are indignant that the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are kicking them out but I think it’s a good move. The rows of Nescafé tins from whence my coffee came and my microwaved poached eggs served with a side salad were less than appetising.
By now Kilnsea was filling up with birders carrying huge telescopic cameras on equally huge tripods. I learnt that Spurn is a great place to spot summer migrating birds because they fly North over the land following the coast (quicker than I’m going) and when they get to Spurn they carry on following the coast and so start heading South by mistake. Being a thin strip of land Spurn funnels them all into the birders’ field of view. Simples.
Ignoring all the advice I received from the locals last night (no one could agree which bits could be walked on beach, cliff or road) I walked all the way from Kilnsea to Withernsea on the beach as the tide was receding and there’s no cliff path (it’s now in the sea).
There were lots of fishermen to avoid but they weren’t having much success. According to Keith in the pub last night they were on the wrong side as the Humber is full of codlings at the moment.
Withernsea is a popular little resort with a huge concrete sea wall. I found a great little cafe and felt much better when I finally had some decent food inside me, and a decent coffee, and cake, and an ice cream. I was hungry.
I was staying at a Park Resorts campsite (same as Kessingland) where they have hundreds of static caravans and a couple of touring fields. I was shown where to pitch my tent by Sandra, the camping warden. She chatted to me, fed me coffee and biscuits, offered to lend me a towel to save me getting mine wet, gave me some washing powder so I could use the launderette and printed me off some bus information. She also cleaned the shower block for me. What a star.
I spent the evening planning (no change there then) in the clubhouse listening to the bingo and the children’s entertainer. All very Butlins.