Washed up at Gibraltar

Gibraltar 12

DRIVING down the Lincolnshire coast I spot a promontory called Gibraltar Point. It has a national nature reserve with marshlands stretching out into the Wash. I reckon it will be a perfect place to stretch the legs for a couple of hours . . .

I’ve never had a desire to visit the other Gibraltar – the one we pinched off Spain and would probably send other people’s sons to fight for if the Spanish got a bit too uppity about wanting it back. I think it’s the monkeys that put me off.

But this one on the coast of Lincolnshire, this is another type of Gibraltar – no bars; no nightclubs; no leaky nuclear submarines tied up in the harbour; no confrontations with Guardia Civil speedboats. This is peace, wide horizons and empty skies – more my kind of Gibraltar.

It’s a fine March morning with glorious sunshine and keen easterly wind. It’s a walking day. Off I go. (Click pictures for high-res versions)

Gibraltar 2 Gibraltar 3 Gibraltar 4The reserve is criss-crossed by a network of paths. I follow one and it takes me to sand-dunes and the high-water mark. Muddy gullies twist out towards the horizon. This is where Lincolnshire discharges itself into the North Sea. Everything comes out in the Wash.

According to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust information boards, birds that can be glimpsed are ringed plovers, little terns, oystercatchers, brent geese, widgeons, reed buntings, knots, bar-tailed godwits, grey plovers, sanderlings and whitethroats.

Gibraltar 5 Gibraltar 8 Gibraltar 7 Gibraltar 6To be honest, I couldn’t identify a single one of those except the oystercatcher. But in the spirit of the bird-watching fraternity, I attempt to photograph a little chap with a cheeky crest – but it flies off from a fence-post before I’ve switched on my camera. And thus is illustrated the difference between photographers and reporters.

Also to be found of the reserve are natterjack toads and Hebridean sheep. The latter perform an important function in maintaining the environment with their grazing and add nutrients to the soil.

Gibraltar 1 (2)My favourite part of Gibraltar Point is the River Steeping with its rickety jetties and peaceful boats. This is a place where blokes who like sheds and a degree of solitude can feel at ease among scatterings of seemingly abandoned though functional items.

Gibraltar 9 Gibraltar 10 Gibraltar 11 Gibraltar 13 Gibraltar 14 Gibraltar 15 Gibraltar 16Old oil drums; anchors; buoys; car tyres; masts; trailers; winches; engine parts; boxes. Even a landlubber like me can wander preoccupied through this jumble of human detritus and feel currents stirring. Not necessarily maritime currents; more the currents felt by men who delight in being surrounded by a certain type of useful clutter.

And that’s Gibraltar Point. Like all points it lies at the end of a road. That’s always a good place to be.

Gibraltar 17FOR MORE INFORMATION . . .

Visit the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website for Gibraltar Point.

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About McFadzean

Alen McFadzean, journalist, formerly of the Northern Echo, in Darlington, and the North-West Evening Mail, Barrow. Former shipyard electrician. Former quarryman and tunneller. Climbs mountains and runs long distances to make life harder. Gravitates to the left in politics just to make life harder still. Now lives in Orgiva, Spain.
This entry was posted in Environment, Footpaths, Hiking, Life, Rivers, Second World War, Shipping Forecast, Walking, Weather, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Washed up at Gibraltar

  1. beatingthebounds says:

    Lovely place that. And only three miles from Skegness. I was impressed by the beaches there – many of my childhood holidays were spent on the Lincolnshire coast, but I don’t remember any of the beaches being a patch on the one at Gibraltar Point.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Mark. We spent the previous night on a campsite in Skegness and I was very impressed by the place, never having been to that area before. It’s a pity the weather wasn’t quite warm enough for a dip.
      Cheers, Alen

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  2. Jo Woolf says:

    Wonderful pics, Alen! I can feel the atmosphere from them. And you did get a bird in one of them! 🙂 This is a part of the world I’ve never been (though I went once to the other Gibraltar, on a school cruise which was like a prison ship in disguise). This one looks way better! That old boat (last pic) has made a fantastic shot. Nice to see the sunshine, too.

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    • McEff says:

      Hi Jo. Thanks for that. Yes, I managed to catch a bird though I’m not sure what type it is. It wouldn’t keep still long enough to get a proper shot. There was a time when I would pore over my Observer Book of British Birds but I stopped that at about the same time I gave up my paper round. Perhaps I should have stuck in.
      All the best, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave (B) says:

    I like abandoned stuff; or at least stuff which has the look of having been abandoned; it tells a story. You often see things from the window of a train, which you know have been there, untouched, for years: there was a lone parcels van parked in the former low level (GWR) station for a good 20 years after the station had closed as a parcels depot.

    Some of those shots look very reminiscent of the landscape which featured in the Kenneth Branagh version of Wallander.

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    • McEff says:

      Hi Dave. I’ve watched all the Wallander versions and enjoyed them (well, as much as you can enjoy another person’s bouts of depression) and perhaps you’re right about the landscape.
      I like abandoned stuff as well. In fact, taking up your parcels van point, after visiting Gibraltar Point we continued on out journey to Norwich along the A17 – a road I have driven along about seventy times over the years. But near King’s Lynn I noticed – for the very first time – the front end of a 1960s-style luxury bus (a chara as we used to call them) sticking out from a huge bank of brambles in an overgrown scrap yard. I should have stopped to take a picture but I didn’t. It’s not the first time I’ve missed a bus.
      Cheers, Alen

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  4. Dave (B) says:

    ‘Wolverhampton’ low-level, by the way. Proof read, Dave; proof read.

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  5. John says:

    As someone who has dyslexia,I find it better to read the essence of what is being written and not the spelling.

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    • McEff says:

      Hi John. My spelling isn’t too good either and I rely on Microsoft Word to get it right. And my wife goes through it as well. But what matters is the words.
      All the best, Alen

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      • My spelling’s wonderful but the spellchecker is always insisting all words must contain the American Z instead of our S ! 😦

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        • McEff says:

          Hey Carol. I’ve just driven past a printer cartridge shop in North Road, Darlington, which has a sign on the door saying the premises has moved “a hundred meters” up the street. I did some huffing and puffing over that.

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          • I still don’t use metres anyway – I huff if people use metric measurements still. But LOL to the meters – perhaps they meant they’d moved 100 gas meters on the outside of the buildings?

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  6. Hanna says:

    Hi Alen. I always breathe deeply before I read your posts. Your writing always sends me out on great expeditions, that is on the Internet unfortunately 🙂
    That’s an interesting post. Why is it called Gibraltar Point? Is it because of the terrain? I discovered that there are other places called Gibraltar Point. For example in Alaska and in Canada. Though the one you visited is missing the rock.
    Wiki: “there are quite a few Gibraltar points in the world, in Canada and Alaska, for example. They are named after the original Gibraltar, one of the Pillars of Hercules at the entrance to the Mediterranean, which has become a common name for any piece of land jutting out into the sea, especially if it has a big rocky cliff on the end”
    I would prefer your Gibraltar Point. I have been on the one with the bars; the nightclubs; the leaky nuclear submarines tied up in the harbour. Oh! I do understand the confrontations with Guardia Civil speedboats. There is an extreme smuggling raids, according to the rumors we heard. I never visited the monkeys in the three months I worked there. I prefer to see animals in their natural environment.
    Thanks for the excursion 🙂 🙂
    Hanna

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    • McEff says:

      Hej Hanna. I was expecting you to drop by on this post because I recall you mentioning that you once worked at Gibraltar. I don’t know how this point got the name, but there is a tradition in this country for naming landmarks and settlements after famous battles or foreign places that have played prominent roles in recent events. For instance, up here in the North-East there are villages named after places in Canada and the US, and farms named after foreign campaigns and battles (in fact, there is a Gibraltar Farm in my home town). I thought about doing a post on this subject once but have not had the time to get round to it.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  7. I feel like I want to walk into every photo. It’s making me pine for the Lune Estuary and Morecambe Bay. And all those nautical bits and bobs just add to the charm of the place. Was there the tinkle of chandlery? That’s always a nice detail in coastal and waterside areas too.

    Chris

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    • McEff says:

      There certainly was a tinkle of chandlery, Chris. I very nearly got my squeezebox out and danced a hornpipe. But I love wandering among stuff like that, even though I’ve only a vague idea about what it’s for. It’s the same as walking among allotment sheds and pigeon lofts. It’s clutter but it serves a purpose. Tidiness is an overrated virtue.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  8. Great looking site Alan and fantastic blog/photos. Hope you’re batting on in 2015 mate. All the best.

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  9. rthepotter says:

    I liked all that marine working clutter too – gives the landscape that lived-in look, with ‘lived’ being the operative word.

    Like

  10. Never been to Lincolnshire – although I’ve a sneaky plan to walk the Viking Way at some point – but your post makes me want to just leap into the van and go….
    I love those wonderful, washed-out, far-horizon views you seem to get on the East Coast. You could be a million miles from anywhere.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Chrissie. I hope you walk the Viking Way because I’d like to read that. I’ve walked the Cleveland Way, and continued down the Wolds Way, and had planned to continue again along the Viking Way but have not got round to it. One day perhaps. It is all part of a plan to walk from Stranraer to the Mediterranean. The Humber Bridge is as far as I’ve got.
      Cheers, Alen

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      • Stranraer to the Med sounds wonderful! I have actually pencilled the Wolds Way in on my Year Planner for the beginning of July, staying at campsites along the way. Negotiations with the Mobile Bed And Breakfast Team (in our van) are still on-going for the Viking Way…
        Have you written the Wolds Way up on this blog? I will have a look…

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        • McEff says:

          I did the Wolds Way long before I started the blog and also didn’t have a camera with me. The whole thing is just a vague memory. It was enjoyable, though I do recall acquiring a large blister towards the end. Enjoy!

          Like

  11. Humorously written as always… I think your crested chappie would be one of the plovers – they have a crest. I feel sure I’ve been to Gibraltar Point (going by the name) but don’t recognise it and can’t remember it – it would have been years ago with my parents though…
    Carol.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      It’s a lovely spot to spend a few hours on a fine day, Carol. What I forgot to mention is that there’s a visitor centre, but it got flooded a couple of years ago in a storm surge. Work to rebuild it starts this summer, so next summer would be a good time to revisit the place and stir those childhood memories.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  12. David says:

    There is something about a landscape where nature and people come together on the coast. It’s as if the rough edges of human impact are softened a little by nature. Looks a wonderful place to stretch the legs.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi David. I know what you mean. People have been bumbling about in those sorts of places since ancient times, and I don’t suppose much has changed except their clutter has become a little bit more sophisticated. People are moulded by the landscape as opposed to the other way round.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

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