Thursday, 12 April 2012

From Filey, Yorkshire

I see from my JustGiving page that one or two people have donated anonymously to my walk; whoever you are, thank you so very much for your generous support. Thank you also to Sarah, Alexander and Nicky for driving many miles in order to shake me out of my solitude, restock me with toothpaste and plasters, and also to walk with me along the disused LNER railway line from Oubrough to Hornsea and then the following day along the cliff tops to Skipsea.

The coast line around here is brittle and eroding quickly, and the cracked and friable cliff tops are dangerous for hikers. About two and a half miles of the Yorkshire coast have been lost to the sea since Roman times. A large stone in the tiny village of Barmston says: "On 1.1.2000 A.D. this millennium stone was 1200 meters (1310 yards) from the sea". As the current rate of erosion, the same stone will be far out at sea by the time the next millennium comes around.

The chalky cliffs are also home to many wild sea birds -- gannets, kittiwakes and gulls, and today I saw a few puffins as well. However, an RSPB staff member at the huge bird sanctuary at Bempton told me that climate change was driving many species away, and that some bird colonies had halved in the past 30 years.

Yesterday, slogging across the sand towards Bridlington at the end of a 20-mile day, I met a fisherman digging for worms. Because the rain had started falling, he picked up bucket nd spade and walked with me into town. Within a few minutes he had told me about his life (unemployed, hard), the fish he caught (mostly sea bass), and his partner in Filey who had just had her third baby, though her first with him (she is being "awkward"). Suddenly he stopped and took from the sand a piece of flat rock that looked like black slate, and put it in his pocket. "Jet" he said in his thick Yorkshire accent, "it comes down from Whitby". He told me that Whitby (a small port further up the coast) was once famous for jet, a semi precious stone popular in the 19th century, and that occasionally little pieces were still washed up in Bridlington. "It's about 150 million years old" he informed me, "and it comes originally from decayed monkey trees". I asked him where he sold the jet, and he said that he knew a few jewelers who "might be interested". As we parted at the harbour he added thoughtfully: "Funny really, but there must 'ave been an 'ell of a lot of monkey trees in Whitby back then".

I am now about half way through my journey, though at times it feels (and it perhaps looks) as if I have been plodding along for months.

1 comment:

  1. Half way! That was fast, Mr. Salamon. Amazing. And I thought it was soooo nice for friends to have driven to see you and replenish. Your walk gives people hope.