Sunday, 5 January 2014

Spring Tide

With a spring tide and dry weather forecast (on xcweather.co.uk - the Met Office predicted rain and strong wind, but then they always give the worst case scenario), we decided on a bracing low-tide walk along my favourite local stretch of coast, from North Berwick to Aberlady.

North Berwick:


You can see how low the tide was by the boats sitting on the mud in North Berwick harbour:



This walk is always best at low tide, when some rocky parts can be avoided entirely by walking round them on sand. A stream that is crossed by a bridge at high tide is, at low springs waters edge, an area of shallow braided channels:



What a glorious day despite the Met Office forecast! Whilst west coast areas such as Cornwall or Aberystwyth were being battered by high waves, we strolled along the beach in early morning sunshine, looking out at the islands in the Forth. On the news, people had been warned off approaching the coast. One poor lad died taking pictures of the waves. The trick with a spring tide is to go not at high but at *low* tide. Our wind was an offshore wind, the waves short, the sun out.

Rocky islands in the Forth:


But on turning the corner at Eyebroughty, we suddenly caught the full power of the weather. Wind-blown sand tore at us, buffeted us, filling our teeth with grit. The rest of the way was a struggle against headwinds reaching 60mph, hoods vibrating like loose sails, the rain coming on now as well.

Beach near Eyebroughty:


I have not been on the coast in such conditions for a long time. By Aberlady Bay, loose sand screamed across the beach in great streams, whilst a furious herd of white horses went to war on the sandbar at the end of the bay. It was a wild place to be, with winds more reminiscent of a hilltop. We were glad to gain the shelter of Aberlady High St, where it was hard to reconcile the experience of such elemental forces just a mile and a half away.

2 comments:

blueskyscotland said...

One of my favourite areas too but with fuel costs I don't get over there much these days. The beaches are some of the finest anywhere on a wild day. It was certainly a worst case scenario on the west coast as the waves were some of the biggest I've seen yet around the coastal towns. Huge amount of damage to the seafront in Helensburgh.

Robert Craig said...

Yeah, I was in Helensburgh on Christmas Eve and the waves were coming over the esplanade then, three sections of the esplanade had been torn out. They've been working on upgrading it but will have to start again from scratch in the spring.