Sunday, 27 March 2011
to the lighthouse (again)
Spurn point in East Yorkshire isn't an island, but in a way it feels like it is. Standing at the top of the old lighthouse that is almost at the tip of this long spit of land there was sea almost all around.
The last lighthouse I wrote about was on the south coast and the Woolf reference was tied up with the other places I visited on that trip: visiting gardens to feed into my dissertation research. The dissertation is nearly completed and, although I'm now really consumed with my studio work and the final push of this degree, my mind is also on what may come next.
Growing up on the North Lincolnshire Coast, south of the Humber, the view across the estuary to Spurn point on the north bank was a familiar one. This week I got that view in reverse, looking across the water from Spurn to the south bank, complete with its landmark: Grimsby Dock Tower (OK, not the most spectacular landmark in the world, but one that is tied up with my past, and in this flat landscape anything tall can be seen from a long way away). I have visited Spurn before and certainly did during my time working for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, who own and manage the reserve, but I don't know it well and I'm intrigued by this strange landscape.
I was lucky enough to visit on a beautiful spring day with bright sunshine and blue skies and had the most magnificent views as a result. The tide was down, in fact about as low as it ever gets, so there was a whole network of sand bars and channels exposed right the way round the sweep of the spit.
Most people don't get the view from the top of the lighthouse and so I felt doubly lucky to have this privilege and on such a gorgeous day. From this vantage point, looking back up the spit of sands and marram grass...
and down to the point, where the life boat station is...
you realise just how narrow the land is here. And it is constantly shifting. A little way back up the coast from the reserve I was reminded of the constant change by this:
The road stops precariously, broken off above the beach, and these static caravans perch in the same way, waiting for the next bit to crumble into the sea.
I hope to get to know this part of the world better, but in the mean time I have rather a lot of stitching to do...