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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Solstice Beach Bivi

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If the weather at the summer solstice looks reasonable, and it sometimes still seems like late winter, it seems a good idea to have an overnight. Me and Dawn had had a series of beach bivis last year and so we arranged an overnight on Ross Back Sands, an isolated stretch of Northumberland coast just opposite Lindisfarne and a specially beautiful place at any time of year. Since it’s a pretty big beach with shallow waters and not all that easy for the hoi-polloi to get to, it’s often pretty quiet and is listed in wild swimming info sites as being suitable for skinny-dipping, and so it is.
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But first, just to make the most of it, we visited Harthope Valley for a shortish trundle aimed at bagging Langlee Crags, a Tump with several interestingly scrambly tors and lots of little nooks and crannies in which to shelter from a blustery Northumberland breeze. But even more first, as we started out, we noticed a cyclist, descending the hill opposite , do an ungraceful but proper somersault from his bike on a steep bit, then lay still for a while and then wander about as if in a daze. We thought it best to have a look to make sure he was OK, so we potponed our climb and rushed off across the valley with imaginary blue lights flashing. He was fine. He’d lost his watch and some kind of lump of rubber which he was specially fond of (?!) which is why he’d been wandering about and he had holes in his trousers (no comments required, Louise…) and a fine selection of grazes and small cuts. Basically, though, he was all right.

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So, we  returned and bagged the top, wandered about a bit and then pioneered an off-road minor trespass to return to the car, followed by the short drive to Ross Back Sands.  After a mile and a half or so through the cow fields, dunes and the flat beach, I attempted to help Dawn put up the bivi whilst just over there ---->; a couple had suddenly failed to resist the call of the Ross Back Sands surf and had stripped off and were having a nudie splash about in the sea. I’m all in favour of this kind of behaviour of which there really should be more – mainly because it’s quite good fun, and people worry far too much about bodies and, the cold water does something magical to the dipper’s mood, so it’s all good, providing you don't get bitten by a shark or something, or get carried off by a big wave.   After they’d dressed and left, we settled in for a quiet and univentful evening and night.. LTD didn’t attend because he has a mortal fear of thunderstorms (as do I, as it happens) and there was thunder forecast for the overnight and the next morning. So he stayed at home.
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In the end, the thunder waited till after dawn, but was briefly very loud and  quite spectacular.  My pint mug, placed strategically under the edge of the tarp filled to the brim with rainwater in less than three minutes. The pre-dawn was nice and colourful and not quite as tilted as the picture I took, but the dawn and the morning developed into a grey, cold and windy one. The only people wandering along the beach seemed to be linked to the nesting terns just a bit towards a fenced-off area a few hundred metres away.
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Eventually, the day brightened up just a tad, and just enough to persuade me to risk a splash in the briney. This wasn’t nearly as cold as I’d expected and, later, after lunch, I had another, all of which made me feel all healthy and slim and happy. Two of these things don’t really apply to me in reality (the healthy and slim aspects). But the dips were outrageously enjoyable and a bit exciting and not so cold that a quick escape was required. Much more of this type of thing will be happening during the summer, providing there’s some warmth. It may get tedious for readers. We have another similar trip planned quite soon. LTD may well come with us.

1 comment:

Dawn Linney said...

It was a good do Mike, look forward to our next one.