Everywhere you go, round the coastline of Great Britain you will find beaches.
Beaches which can seem as different from one another, as a lush green English field and the Sahara Desert.
They can be composed of sand, in a whole range of colours, from near white to near black, many having been coloured by man himself and his pollution, from oil, coal and other industrial waste.
Some beaches can be composed of pebbles, with each pebble varying in size from a small marble to the size of a large grapefruit, depending on how old and well-worn a particular beach is.
A prime example of this is Chesil Beach on the south coast of Dorset near Weymouth, a twenty-nine kilometer stretch of pebbles, standing up to fifteen meters above the sea, with water on both sides.
They say local experts can tell where a particular pebble has come from simply by gauging its size which apparently varies from quite small at one end of the beach, to much larger at the other.
Some beaches, in different parts of the country can hardly be called beaches at all, being composed largely of large slabs of rock with little drifts of sand clinging on, mainly in the crevasses in the rocks.
On parts of the coastline the beaches can be really superb, such as in Devon and Cornwall with their wonderful stretches of lovely white sand, blue, crystal-clear water crashing onto them, especially on the northern side of the two Counties, open as they are, to the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.
Here, many famous surfing beaches can be found, such as Newquay and St. Ives, popular with top class surfers from all over the world, while on the southern coast, in the sheltered waters of the English Channel, there are many holiday resorts offering safe facilities for families and good fishing for anglers.
Over the rest of the UK the variety of quality in the beaches is as broad as chalk and cheese, ranging from the lovely, and comparatively quiet and picturesque beaches of South West England I’ve already described, to the bawdiness of Blackpool with its Tower and its millions of annual visitors, many of them coming from factories in Manchester, Liverpool and other North Country cities, which all close down, (or used to), in June while employees go off together, to enjoy the lights, the pubs, the theatres and the company to be found in such a busy place as Blackpool.
I think this is most likely a system that is dying out nowadays with factories needing to be producing pretty well twenty-four hours a day, but the town is still popular with North Country people, many of whom wouldn’t find the beaches of Southwest England exciting enough for them!
There are certainly good beaches and bad beaches in the UK and the people make their choice as to which type suits them, depending on their interests; a major factor in choice making there is that whichever type you want, in a small country like England, you don’t have to go far to find it, but wherever you go you will find crowds, hotels and noise; you need to be a real expert to discover the ones that aren’t busy and noisy!
Australia has beaches too!
This is where Australia is the lucky country; all round its massive coastline there are fantastic beaches, each one comprising glorious white, or near white sand that always seems to stretch for miles, not just along them, but across them as well, with wonderful clear blue water cascading onto them, pretty well every one seeming to be great for surfing, and very few of them backed by the hideous hotels and guest houses, the people of the UK have to put up with.
In Australia a beach is considered crowded if there are more than a couple of dozen people on it, and some of those beaches are a hundred or more kilometers long!
There are a few downsides to Australian beaches of course, major among them being the sharks, which can be a bit of a nuisance sometimes, as can the box jellyfish and the blue-ringed octopus, but you just have to be careful that’s all, and you will survive these minor problems.
One other problem on an otherwise perfect Australian beach is the sheer power of the sun, which can really do an unwary person a lot of harm; apply appropriate creams, cover your body as much as possible and you won’t come to any harm – think you are cleverer than Mr. Sun and you will suffer, possibly even to the extent of dying!
Having experienced the beaches in both England and Australia, I have to give final points and the win, to Australia, for one important reason.
In England visitors will crowd the surf as long as the temperature is above 20ºC, but in Australia they don’t even go on the beach if it’s less than 30ºC.
That’s for me, any time!!
(c) Text & Images 2022 - Brian Lee