Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas in Sandown, Isle of Wight

The High Street Dinosaur eats a man.
During my four days in Sandown on the Isle of Wight over Chistmas, I had hoped to be a beachcomber and  find some pebbles and interesting fossils along the seashore, but I was not prepared to find a complete dinosaur skeleton in the High Street!  A young lady seemed quite content to wander the streets swinging the huge head and swaying tail, and terrifing several children at the same time!  My hotel was just off the seafront, but I could see the sea from my window, and a couple of minutes walk took me to the promenade.  I walked the 1.75 miles to Shanklin and back, and in the other direction towards Culver Cliff and Bembridge.  The morning's high tide meant some rough waves, but in the afternoon I could walk on the wet sand and look for interesting pebbles.  I like the ones with a hole, I can then string them up like a mobile.
The receding tide looking towards Culver Cliffs.
This view above, towards Culver Cliff was lovely in the late winter afternoon.  I walked to the cliffs on the path and beach, touched the clay cliffs that are eroding into the sea (coloured light brown) and then the white chalk of an ancient seabed, now uplifted above sea level.  I returned along the foaming sea edge and frightened a flock of seagulls all merrily minding their own business on the wet sand, and facing up wind.  They can just be seen standing in the receding  water.
Rock pools at Culver Cliff.
It was starting to get dark just as I began searching for crabs left behind by the tide.  It would be easy to become cut off by the tide here, so I walked on behind a family, thinking there was safety in numbers, should the tide decide to return.  I'm always fascinated by the age of these boulders, just lumps of rock we take for granted, but which were formed millions and millions of years ago.   I walked to Shanklin dodging the waves are they crashed over the promenade, all very exciting for me who has not seen the sea for several years.   I lived in Worthing many years ago, and with the seafront almost at my back door,  I tended to take it for granted.  It was nice to be back again.

Rough seas on the walk to Shanklin.

Sunset over Sandown.

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