The shingle spit of Orford Ness runs north to Aldeburgh, the town giving its name to the river rather than the reverse. Places like Doncaster (The Castle on the Don) and Rotherham (village on the Rother) take their name from the waterway running through them, but Aldeburgh means “Old Fort” so is independent of the River Alde (which as we’ve seen soon becomes the Ore anyway).
The origins of that fort are unclear, as no archeological work can reveal its history. We know that it was here in Tudor times, for this was a busy port where Sir Francis Drake had ships (including the Golden Hind) built. A must for a visitor interested in history such as myself you might think, and you’d be right but for one thing.
That shifting coastline once again.
Much of the town has been swept out to sea over the years, and a major flood in the 1950’s finally led to the construction of significant defences against the sea.
The town, like some English Burano is colourful and quaint, but it’s very easy to see that it’s not quite all there.
The Moot Hall, built in 1520, has a commanding position on the seafront, but it should be in the centre of town. Still it makes a nice backdrop to a game of pétanque or some gentle model boating.
Aldeburgh has plenty of attractions left, but with only limited time available I could only fully do justice to two. Aldeburgh Fish and Chips is supposedly one of the best in the UK (though I suspect the accolade may be self-awarded!) and I wasn’t disappointed, but on a slightly more cultural level I found the shingle spit rewarding as I walked in search of the Scallop, a large sculpture by Maggi Hambling that stands as tribute to Aldeburgh’s most notable former resident; Benjamin Britten.
Fishing boat timbers
We have a beautiful beach that runs for a couple of miles from Whitburn to Roker. A beautiful beach that on a sunny day attracts people from all over the area, and even on a dreadful day has its hardcore fans. A beautiful beach that twice a day is submerged by the North Sea. It’s a bit of a shame when you’ve planned your to spend your day relaxing on the golden sands, but there’s nothing you can do about it (including this fairly half-hearted attempt). Time and tide wait for no man.
So, assuming that you’re not going to write the day off completely what do you when the tide is high (guaranteed to give Blondie fans an earworm)?
For some there’s denial; “Let’s move as far up the beach as we can and turn away from the advancing water”, whilst for others there are plenty of places to sit away from this creeping threat.
if you’re organised there is the chance to catch up on a little reading, a bite to eat, an update on the gossip, or just to lounge on the grass.
For those energetic enough to walk a few hundred yards there’s the delights of Latimer’s Lobster Fest; even better if you can find someone to push you there.
Of course the tide itself is an attraction to some.
Some can be blase… …others less so.There is of course one way to overcome the tidal challenge. Perhaps Canute should have just brought his cossie, had a quick dip and then gone home with a towel or two.
Can’t say I fancied it, and thankfully neither did Nikki, for having walked the length of the prom and back I hadn’t seen anyone I wanted to photograph until I saw her smile just as i was getting back to my car. Of course she was of the “Oh no, I hate my smile” variety, but luckily her friend was persuasive. Thanks Nikki (and thanks to your friend!)