After reading about my blog post about fossiling at Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire, Zoe from Splodz Blogz asked for me to take her there one day. So, last week we both headed off in my car to spend the day on the beach and looking for fossils.
When I was a little girl my dad would take me to the beach regularly. He wouldn’t know whether the tide would be in or out when we arrived so it was pretty much a case of luck if we could get down on to the shore. Thanks to modern technology, there are now phone apps listing the tide times for any beach you like. The tide was due to be at its highest just before 1.30pm so we planned to get to the beach around that time and wait for the sea to go out far enough to be able to get to the area where I know fossils can be found.
We first stopped off in beautiful Whitby for fish and chips, well fish cake and chips is actually what we had. We munched them down overlooking the harbour with clear blue skies above us.
The steep decent down the road to the small village of Runswick Bay is unforgettable to anyone who has visited. Even though the signs point down the hill, your body may react differently; telling you it can’t possibly be the right way. After a few yards, the welcome view of the sea shore and the car park are reassuring.
Visiting the beach in Autumn has its benefits; fewer crowds, often free parking and no screaming children. Bliss.
The tide was still almost at its highest when we arrived. Zoe and I looked for signs that the sea was on its way out. The high tide line was marked by ground, sand and rocks that were still wet. The sandy shore to the south was inaccessible, as was the rocky shore to the north, where we needed to be to find fossils, so we headed up to the narrow streets of the village on the cliffs to explore.
The air was still chilly so we wrapped up warm. I chose to wear my new Hi-Tec winter boots which I was sent to test out. I chose them for the walking boot-like stability they offer with the addition of insulated faux fur and height which is perfect for exploring in the colder months. They are SO so warm and look fab with everyday clothes- just perfect for when you need the practical elements of walking boots but don’t want to look like a hiker.
The cute houses and their perfectly manicured gardens are a real delight. It’s a perfect picture postcard yet something was missing; there was hardly a sole around. Most of the house were holiday homes. We knew as much because the majority of the garden gates had a display of leaflets advertising the property. Runswick Bay was once a bustling fishing village but now it has few residents.
The two of us wandered down onto the sea defences to look out across the sea and enjoy the relaxation time we had but no choice to endure. Being a person who finds it hard to not do anything without feeling guilty, it was lovely to be able to just sit and wait. The sea had given us permission to rest.
After some time, we could make it down onto the sandy shore. I didn’t intend to collect any striking rocks on this occasion but the grey ones with red lines running through them were irresistible. I gathered them in my hands until they began to fall. At that point, Zoe helped me to stuff them into my rucksack side pocket.
With little daylight time left we left the sandy beach to attempt to get down onto the rocky side of the bay where the best fossils are to be found. The tide was still quite high meaning we had to scale the large, slippery rocks to reach our destination. The further we went, the more rocks there were. From the colour of some of the rocks ahead, we could tell there had recently been a landslide. Knowing we had maybe just an hour of light left and the fact that the rocks were getting harder to get across, I suggested to Zoe that we didn’t go any further. Although disappointed we didn’t reach the best fossiling area, we got stuck into hammering open the big lumps of slate around us. Rock after rock we struck but with little luck. We found a few tiny fossils, which Zoe seemed quite happy with, but nothing like the ones I had hoped we would find. We carried on enthusiastically until the sun disappeared and the darkness drew in.
By the time we reached the benches back up on the grassy area close to the village it was night. The moon shone brightly in the sky, the air was still and the oystercatchers called loudly as they chased each other across the newly exposed sand down on the shore. Zoe and I sat on a bench, supping tea we had brought in a flask, while taking in the calm and the view out to sea. It was a beautiful moment. Neither of us wanted to leave. Knowing Dave would have tea ready for us for when we arrived back at my house made leaving the seaside bearable. Just.