Cleethorpes: A Deserted Beach

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

A trip north to the once genteel resort of Cleethorpes delivered something of a shock. Despite being end of season, the town was absolutely packed with tourists, and it took a very long time to find a car-parking space.

Dogs were not allowed on the beach until the end of the month, so we had to walk along the busy promenade with Ollie. Although the streets were full of people, the beach was almost deserted.

In the distance, I spotted what was left of some wartime fortifications.

The pier that once served as an elegant entertainment venue is now just a gigantic fish and chip shop.

It was a sunny and warm day, and we were able to find a good place for a delicious lunch later.

Queen’s Park: Mablethorpe

On the recent holiday to Lincolnshire, we walked just over three miles to the nearby town of Mablethorpe. This rather down-market seaside resort is still very popular, and as well as a busy beach, it has an old fashioned park with a boating lake.

(All photos can be fully enlarged by clicking on them.)

The swan boats were all stored in the centre, as there was no boating going on, presumably because of Covid-19.

Someone was working on the red boats that day.

Counting my blessings

I have been writing (read moaning) a lot about the weather recently. The wettest June on record in the UK, and almost three weeks of non-stop rain. There is more forecast for later today, with the chance of thunderstorms and hailstorms tomorrow too. The weather forecaster warned of more ‘significant rainfall’ in the week to come. But despite being fed up to the point of depression with the dark skies, wet walks with Ollie, and a water intrusion into an outbuilding, I have to take some comfort that it is not as bad as this.

Less than a two-hour drive from here.

The Army needed, to try to fight the overflowing rivers.

People being evacuated from flooded houses.

Cherished homes full of water.

Impassable roads and flooded cars ruined.

Watching such images on the news makes me realise that I am lucky by comparison. And I can only sympathise with the poor people who are forced to live in temporary emergency accommodation, then have to return to water-damaged houses. And they are unable to drive anywhere, even if their car has managed to escape the water.

I’m still fed up of course, but I am counting my blessings that I don’t live in those places.

Lincolnshire: Chapel St Leonards

Ollie enjoying the view along the deserted beach.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them, and look better that way.

On our last day, we headed eight miles south, to the seaside village of Chapel St Leonards. This popular holiday destination is all but deserted out of season, and we took full advantage of being some of the few people there. Julie headed off to the shops to buy a new jacket, and I took a reluctant Ollie onto the beach.

He didn’t settle though, and was constantly looking back, to see where Julie had gone.

Along the promenade, closed-up beach huts set the mood, with threatening skies behind.

This theatre-style seating is for the popular Punch and Judy show. It could do with a clean.

Like much of the rest of the places there, the Punch and Judy was closed.

And the seafront cafe too.

But not everything had finished for the season. The cafes in town were open, and we stopped for a hot drink. The small amusement arcade was still open too, a real British tradition.

This is the last photo post from our short holiday. I hope that you enjoyed this look at the British seaside, out of season. Next time, I will ditch the Sony lens hood, and not keep getting it in the corner of some wideangle shots!

Lincolnshire: Tattershall Castle

All photos can be enlarged for detail, and look better that way.

Across a double moat separating it from Holy Trinity Church, (see previous post) lies the imposing building called Tattershall Castle. Originally built as a defensive structure in the 13th century by Robert De Tatershales, (hence the name of the village) the present building is a fully-restored fortified house dating from 1434. It was the home of Ralph, the 3rd Baron Cromwell, famous for its double moat and drawbridges. It is by far the finest example of a Medieval brick-built structure to survive in the UK.

Closer to the castle, you can see Julie and Ollie admiring its grandeur.

In the foreground, the circular stonework is all that survives of De Tatershales’ original fortress.

The lower window allows light into the cellar.

Inside, the rooms on each floor have been left empty. However, the wonderful fireplaces in the main rooms are still there to be admired.

I was very excited to discover that visitors are allowed to access the roof and battlements. So with Julie taking Ollie on another tour around the grounds, I scampered up the 149 steps to the top, to be greeted by this lovely bastion.

Inside that, I got an archer’s eye view from this place of safety.

The well-chosen spot really commands the surrounding area, and feels a lot higher up than it looks. This view from the top shows how close it is to Holy Trinity Church. The outer moat is now overgrown with bulrushes, but there is still water in the inner moat, closer to the castle. (Not visible in this photo)

I really enjoyed that visit to the castle, especially as it didn’t rain until we got back to the car park!

One more holiday post to come soon.

Lincolnshire: Sutton on Sea

This small town was the base for our recent holiday. Situated between the large commercial resort of Skegness, and the traditional seaside town of Mablethorpe, it has remained unchanged for decades. The beaches stretch for miles, and are mostly deserted, as you can see in the photo above. Unfortunately, the weather was rather bleak, as you can tell from the dull light in these pictures.

All photos can be enlarged for detail by clicking on them, and look better that way.

Nothing at all about this town is fancy, or pretentious. This water feature is by the side of the approach to the promenade.

And this one is on the other side of the small playground and greens.

As it was the end of the season, the beach shop was closed. I took this photo from the rock garden below.

The simple children’s splash pool and play area was deserted in the late afternoon, on a chilly day.
The ice cream and refreshments shop is also closed after the season, as you can see.

Rows of popular beach huts line the promenade. None were being used that day.

The town war memorial is unusually modern, with its sculpture poppies. If you fully enlarge the photo, you can read the names inscribed.

Along the high street, this alley leads to a laundromat that hasn’t changed in living memory. I love the name of the business.

The Bacchus Hotel is the largest building in the town. It hosts weddings and functions, has a choice of restaurants, a well-stocked bar, and is a popular meeting place for holidaymakers and residents alike.

Our holiday cottage was situated behind the hotel, next to the beer garden. It doesn’t look much, but was stocked with everything we needed, and had two large bedrooms. Converted from an old outbuilding of the hotel, it was just right for our short break.

More holiday photos to come.

A Positive Holiday

Determined to stay positive, in 2017.

A different Pete might well have complained about driving to our holiday in torrential rain. Being stuck behind a tractor for ages, then having to take a long diversion because of an accident in Boston. (The original one, in Lincolnshire) But not me, not the positive me. A journey of about ninety miles north still only took some three hours, even with the unexpected delays.

We arrived in a dry but chilly late afternoon, and checked in to our rented cottage behind the large comfortable hotel. The town of Sutton on Sea was unchanged, after nine years. Still the same shops, the small High Street, the unspoilt seafront, and long promenade. This is a place set in time, and that time feels like 1960. The cottage that we last stayed in in 2008 was as we remembered, with better beds, and a modern television. There was even time for a brisk walk along the front before dark, and the handy convenience store provided some essentials before we settled down to an evening in, with the food we had sensibly brought with us.

Ollie enjoyed the novelty of the stairs leading up to the bathroom and two double bedrooms, and there was ample space for his large bed, and both his food and water bowls. Once unpacked and settled, we relaxed watching the TV, before I had a nice early night, and a very good sleep. Because it was officially out of season, there were no noisy family groups, and few people around, other than a handful of hotel guests. So no issues with parking, and no noise of any concern after dark.

After breakfast the next morning, we set off for the seafront walk to the town of Mablethorpe, around three miles north. Deliberately downmarket as a resort, Mablethorpe is home to holidaymakers in caravans, cheap guest houses, and basic accommodation. It has cut-price markets, bargain-basement gift shops, and the cheapest fast food we have ever seen. This is a bucket and spade, sand-castles holiday town, in the long tradition of the British seaside. And all the better for it, in my opinion. After stopping for a coffee, we retraced our steps to Sutton on Sea, and bought a Chinese takeaway meal, to save cooking. That night, the coast was hit by a fierce storm, and torrential rain. But it didn’t really affect us, other than hearing the howling gales from the comfort of the cottage.
Another positive day.

On Wednesday, we had arranged to meet my cousin and his wife. They live in West Lincolnshire, so it was a relatively short journey for them to come and see us. We met for lunch in the hotel, which we all agreed was excellent. Then the sun came out, so we were able to enjoy a long walk with Ollie, heading south to nearby Sandilands. Catching up with my cousin and his wife again was a welcome diversion, and we finished off the evening with toasted sandwiches in the cottage.
Positivity was once again the order of the day.

On Thursday, I had planned a trip to Tattershall, with its castle and church on the agenda. Following that, a short journey to the pleasant town of Woodhall Spa. We woke to dark skies, and some heavy rain. The sort of morning where you consider abandoning plans, and going back to bed. But not when you are being positive, oh no. You head out anyway, and hope for the best. Under an hour later, we pulled into the car park for the castle and church, and it had stopped raining. Off we went, and discovered that the church was not only open, but photography was allowed inside too. Even better, dogs were allowed, so Ollie made his first trip inside a church into the bargain.

Once at the castle, despite gloomy skies, the rain still held off. Julie looked after Ollie as I scampered up the stairs inside, delighted to discover that the roof was open to visitors. The sun came out just long enough for some distant views and photos, followed by a short walk around the moat, and the fields beyond for Ollie. Back at the car, the rain finally came down. But it didn’t matter, as we were safe inside the car, making the trip to Woodhall Spa. Arriving there, we had coffee on the outside terrace of a pub, and made a quick tour of the familiar town, before getting back to the car park just as the heavens opened once more. Our luck was holding, and being positive was appearing to work. That night we ate at the hotel, where Ollie was allowed to sit by our table. Another delicious meal, finished off with some powerful ‘designer gin’.
All in all, a great day out, and very positive.

Friday was our last full day, and we woke once again to threatening skies and rain. Undaunted, we set off to Chapel St Leonards, a seaside village eight miles from Sutton on Sea, to the south. Once again, it felt familiar, and completely unchanged in almost a decade. The cheap cafes, seaside shops, and local people on mobility scooters. Another window into the past, steeped in a tradition that is in my bones. Once parked and heading for the beach, it had stopped raining, though we had to dodge puddles. The chilly wind was beaten back by wearing a warm coat, and I was soon happily photographing the closed down seafront cafes and beach huts. Despite being the end of the season, the small amusement arcades were still operating, and all the cafes were open. It was a nice nostalgic trip indeed, and although Ollie wasn’t keen on the windswept beach and sand dunes, I loved it. When we got back, the sun had come out a little, so I took off with Ollie to photograph some more sights at Sutton on Sea. For our last night, we went back to the hotel to eat in the restaurant. Ollie was fast asleep by 7 pm, so we left him resting. After another nice meal, we enjoyed some cocktails before heading back to the cottage to get ready for bed.
Being positive and braving the weather had worked out just right, once again.

Driving home on Saturday, we were in and out of torrential rain, delayed by farm tractors, and wary of road accidents in the gloom. But it was of no concern, as we were only travelling home, and the short holiday was now behind us.

Staying positive, in 2017.