Private

Fancy a little secluded slice of paradise?

For just £2.4 million you could buy your own Greek island in the Ionian Sea.

Too pricey?

Well then only £1.7m will get you 12 acres of beach-front in St Lucia.

Still a little rich for your pocket?

Half an acre of virgin land on Mayreu in the Grenadines will set you back a far more modest £103,000.

Or you could go to Marsden Beach on a cold and grey November lunchtime for free.

Not as appealing?  Maybe not if you’re a devout sun-worshipper, but for the crash of waves on a sloping beach, swirling foam,  towering cliffs, and sculpted rocks its hard to beat, and for half an hour today it was all mine.  Not a soul to be seen and even the prints from the morning’s dogs were being erased by the advancing tide.

Even on the greyest of days there was colour as the russet sands were swirled into the gunmetal waters, yellow limestone shone in its coat of salt water and the sky managed to inject a little glaucous hue into the deeper waters.

Here nature plays out a battle between the sea and the land and there will only be one winner, for though the cliffs stand tall and the rocks hold fast the sea has time on its side.  Imperceptibly scouring the surface of the stones that emerge from the sand, sucking at the feet of the great limestone walls above, grinding pebbles back and forth along the shore.  The plentiful grains of sand indicate the fate awaiting those seemingly stout defences.

After a while I decided it was time to beat a retreat before my escape route was cut off and as I began my ascent back to the cliff tops met Scott bringing his two dogs for a little exercise.  I felt I was handing over custodianship of a piece of treasure.  For a little while at least.

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When the tide comes in…

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!)