About four times a year I’m very fortunate to have a weekend break with a very special friend, Vikky. It’s my seaside sanctuary. We’re barely in contact in between and spend 48hrs chatting, walking by the sea, eating cake and drinking Prosecco!
We head over to Vikky’s beautiful flat overlooking the sea at Scarborough, a sanctuary in itself. All troubles and worries disappear as I walk through the door. The following day is a long walk, whatever the weather, usually along the coastline. A shorter walk is squeezed in on Sunday before heading home, refreshed and revived!
Last weekend was to be our first Seaside Sanctuary of 2018, and it had been a while as the previous one was in October. I was really looking forward to it.
Then the wind and snows arrived.
We both kept our fingers crossed and an eye on the weather forecasts. Here, on the edge of Derbyshire we had a fair amount of snow but the main roads were clear. Our house has overhead electricity cables and the first power cut came on Thursday (only for a few hours). I still kept my fingers crossed.
Vikky lives in a small village outside Doncaster. She’d not had too much snow and even the track to her house was drivable.
Reports from the east coast weren’t good though, very high winds, rough seas and drifting snow.
I was thinking it would be better for me to travel over to Doncaster using the motorways, when it was reported that lots of motorists were trapped on the M62, near Leeds, in drifting snow, the very part I would need to travel on. At the time I wasn’t aware just how bad the situation was for these poor people.
Friday morning, decision time, to go or not to go? It looked as though the route from Vikky’s house to Scarborough was probably going to be OK but part of my route to Vikky’s house was not. Many people were still trapped on the M62 and, according to the AA website, several roads on other options I had were closed too. Then came another power cut, which helped me make up my mind. I can’t work without power or internet. So I abandoned my partner and son (!!) and headed out, with plenty of warm clothes and a full container of spare screen wash in the boot of my car.
A couple of the roads I’d thought of using were closed, but I just kept to the cleared ones, heading out towards Chesterfield. In some places the snow was piled up at the sides of the road much higher than the car. This was my first thankful moment, to be living near vast farmlands on the peaks where farmers have no choice but to get out to their livestock. It ended up a very easy, stress-free, beautiful journey. Not many people were out and the views were stunning.
[Just in case you thought I’m not a very nice person, leaving my loved ones with no heating or power, it was all fixed before I arrived at Vikky’s house].
The second leg of the journey, to Scarborough, turned out to be trouble free too. My second thankful moment.
We’d heard on the radio that the stranded motorists on the M62 had finally been able to move. Other dreadful stories of people stranded all night on trains and still more people with homes that had no water or heating. To arrive safe and sound in Scarborough was a very long third thankful moment.
The weekend was lovely. Friday evening and night was very windy, the waves were breaking far out in the very churned up sea. Some roads and paths were fenced off due to flying roof tiles. This died down quite a bit by Saturday. We didn’t go too far away for our walk, just to Whitby for our very favourite walk, along the beach to Sands End and back. The power of the sea was very evident, with huge boulders washed up on the beach. I’m always in awe of the sea; it’s power and beauty. Every walk along the same stretch of beach is always different, but always restorative and always full of thankful-to-be-alive moments.
Sunday brought some rain and the start of the melt. Almost all the roads were clear and life was returning to normal for much of the UK.
A week later and I still think about how lucky I was to be able to go on my Seaside Sanctuary when so many others were having an awful time, to experience and enjoy nature and to spend time with a special friend.