hard hat

Holding Back the Tide

Spurn headSometimes in life we just have to cut our losses and know when we’re beaten. It’s not that I’m defeatist, I have tenacity of a terrier but on occasions we need to execute our emergency escape plan (if we have one!) and let things take their natural course.  The wisdom is knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

This was really brought home last weekend when I visited a place for the first time which has long held a fascination for me.

Spurn Point is a thin strip of land along the East Yorkshire coast, curving into the Humber Estuary.  A road used to run along the half a mile length to its tip, the site of a lighthouse, row of cottages and (due to treacherous waters and heavy shipping) the UK’s only permanently manned RNLI station.  Now part of the road has been swept away leaving the land only 50 metres wide in places.

Spurn Point BeachThe walk from the car park to the end and back is a 6 mile round trip.  Whether on the shore or the broken road, you are constantly reminded of the battle between man and nature.  The perpetual crashing has made short work of the decades of defences on the seaward side.  The beach and dunes are strewn with concrete, rocks, metal, wood and lumps of brickwork that the sea has chewed up and spat out.  Parts of it are more reminiscent of Dunkirk than a nature reserve.

Spurn Head erosion

And the response?   To leave it and the sand will carry and naturally move onto the west side, meaning that Spurn Point will form once again but just in a different place. Holding back nature has merely delayed the inevitable.  Sometimes we must let go.