The unique beauty of Spurn Point, Boxing Day 2013 ...

There is a sense of eerie foreboding about the place - hard to identify because the sky is clear and the sea bright beneath it, the quick sand banks of the River Humber shining like a mirror. But where a large sand dune should have prevented a view from one to the other now stands emptiness. A tractor-ploughed track demarcates the road - whose concrete slabs have been carried over onto the beach.

During the storm that created the destruction at Spurn Point, a narrow spit of sand on the East Yorkshire coast, the sea and river would have met above where we are standing. There would have been no long, spidery shadows across the beach as there are today, artwork on the sand. There are human shapes projected against the fiery skyline: signs of life in a landscape changed but not destroyed.

A seal pokes its head above the surf, its round eyes surveying the beach before it glides playfully into the wave and slithers towards us. It grapples its way onto the shiny sand, a cumbersome and ungainly shape looking for some rest beneath the sun. It curves its body this way and that, searching for the best angle, growling when a passer-by gets too close but quickly looking content again.

A 'High Tide' warning sign urges us back to the car park and we abandon our walk to the lighthouse, coldly distant and far away in the haze. The car park is covered in silt; the caravans in the holiday park strewn like unwanted toys. But this spit of land, where a golden wasteland meets with a big blue sky - a horizon punctuated only by the truncated prongs of a former jetty - has never looked more beautiful than on this glorious Boxing Day.
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