Monday, 12 January 2015

beautiful, windy Winterton...

Yesterday morning was bright and cold, with a strong blustery breeze that had been whipping through the trees all night. Perfect for the next beach stop on my list and a 'blow the cobwebs away' walk.

Winterton is somewhere that has always been off my go to list. As a child, I was affected by the conveyed trauma of my parents, after a friend of my younger sister drowned there having been caught by the fast rising tide on a sandbank. It became the beach that we just didn't visit and I suspect in my imagination it became a much darker and more terrible place than it needed to.

Almost 40 years on, and with a determination to visit the 'unvisited' places, it seemed more than time to put that memory to rest. And, in fact, Winterton is a rather beautiful place. A wide stretch of low sand dunes leads from the village before opening out onto a vast stretch of sandy beach, looking towards Horsey on the left...


and back towards Hemsby looking to the right...


We were there early, on the beach by about 9.15, with the sun low in the sky and the offshore windfarm just visible in the distance. When I was at Hemsby last week, this was just visible through the low cloud to the naked eye but undetectable on photos.

It was very windy, with the temperature in the shelter of just 3C in spite of the sunshine, considerably lower with windchill taken into account I suspect, and there were few people about other than a group of hardy runners and a couple of photographers trying to capture photos of the impressive breakers; they were much braver than me, laying on the shingly sand close to the tideline, pointing their long lenses towards the waves, some of which were 5 or 6ft high, with the wind whipping spray off their tops... 




It is impossible to ignore the sheer power of the sea as it crashes onto the beach - there are breakers on the sandbanks much further out and the shoreline has the appearance of having been scoured into  lunar-like undulations...


It was difficult not to take too many photos, it was so beautiful; the two photographers would walk a little way, then lay down again and take more pictures - I'd love to know what shots they managed to capture.


The Norfolk coast is a wide sweep around the curve of the county and you get a real feel of that here. As you stand on the beach the sea is visible as you look out across more than 180 degrees of the horizon...



There was a really lovely light which altered according to which way you were facing; with the sun behind us, the dune grass glowed golden as it stretched away...


The blue sky was reflected in the pools collecting in the pockets left on the sand...


...and facing the other way, the grass had a silver quality...


We walked back through the dunes, definitely warm coffee in mind by this point!


One last glance at the sea...


...before heading back towards the village across the dunes...


Up by the lighthouse is a quirky collection of roundhouse holiday chalets, inspired over 35 years ago by a local businessman's visits to South Africa, thatched in keeping with local Norfolk roofing skills.


Winterton has its history in fishing and farming and retains a quiet village feel amongst the holiday lets, with pretty narrow streets of old cottages...


Back at the beach is a cafe with decent coffee, warm snacks and homemade cakes - perfect before the drive home.

I'm glad I went. Beautiful stretch of beach - it was a strangely emotive experience but the sea is powerful and to be respected on any stretch of our coastline; don't feel any need to avoid this particular bit any more.

Next time, Horsey beach - I wonder if the baby seals will still be there?

S x


3 comments:

  1. Beautiful sea photos - I love the ones with the spray shooting up. According to Gillian that effect is called 'spindrift' - isn't that a great word? How terrible about your sister's friend, but I'm glad you overcame the sadness of the past and visited; it looks like such a beautiful beach. Can't wait for your next beachy post. x

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  2. What a beautiful place. I've never been to Norfolk but this looks like somewhere I'd like to visit one day.

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  3. Gorgeous sunny sea photos Sandra. Thank you for sharing....it will be months till I see the sea.
    Jacquie x

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