Tuesday, 29 July 2008


4 buoys
Almost all materials I need to build some floating buoys have now been delivered. For example high visibility fabric, ropes, silicon tubing (the kind of tubes often used in hospitals for all types of fluids) and empty water bottles. So, towards the end of this week I will be able to actually build the floats. They will represent some of the yellow dots in the map about Shifting Spurn.

In order to find out the right size for these swimming devices I marked them into an image. - This is the way to do it when you haven't got a car to quickly drive to Spurn.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Rising tide

We walked to neck where the sea defence blocks are. The concrete blocks in the images below have been anti-tank blocks. Now they defend Spurn against the sea.
We arrived shortly after low tide and stayed until it was almost high tide. The rising tide was a stunning performance. The waves came in with enormous force to then collide with the blocks. Three days after full moon, this was a strong tide. - When we left after 6pm most of the blocks were submerged and the water level was still rising.

I had prepared some floats to try out another time but had them with me. They looked just ridiculous … far too small and not appropriate. So, I’ve changed and adapted my idea. It’s become simpler. And the materials I’d like to use will be stronger.

The subtleties of english language

We've been to Spurn last Sunday, Jo, Stefan and I. Finally an almost dry day after a rainy period. First we met Andrew Gibson and I learned that Spurn neck was never breached - as it said in my blog - but only washed-over! The breach was further south where the chalk bank is. So, I've updated my vocabulary and  changed these posts (About Spurn).

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Books about Spurn

• Spurn Lifeboat Station, the first hundred years: the history of Spurn Lifeboat Station from 1810 to May 1911 / Benfell, Roy
• Memories of Spurn in the 1880's / Jarratt, George
• The people along the sand: the Spurn Peninsula and Kilnsea, a history 1800-2000 / Crowther, Jan
• Sailing the rails: a new history of Spurn and its military railway Frost, Howard M.
• A history of the Spurn lighthouses De Boer, G.
• Spurn Head postal history / Ward, Ronald
• Growing up on Spurn Head / Kendall, Ronald
• The Spurn Head Railway: the history of a unique military line 3rd ed. Hartley, Kenneth E.
• An historical atlas of East Yorkshire / Neave, Susan

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Shifting Spurn

I had a closer look at an aerial view of Spurn's 'neck' - the area where the sea defence blocks are. I compared it with the same section of the 1852 map* and tweaked the two maps to the same scale. The image shows the maps overlaid. See the enlarged version.

The full yellow line shows what remains of the Spurn peninsula at an "ordinary spring tide" in 1852. The dashed yellow line running vertically through the middle of the image roughly outlines the former shore of Spurn towards the Humber - a strip of sand and shingles. On the enlarged version of the image you can see that the group of sea defence blocks are positioned between these two yellow lines. So, the defence blocks spreading along the seaside today in this area happen to outline the riverside of Spurn in the 1850's.

I'm thinking of the static blocks of stone - meant to protect against the dynamic forces of wind, weather and waves - and the shifting landscape. Taking these aspects into account I'd like to mark a stretch of the defence blocks which by chance outline some of the 1852 Spurn. I will need to have another look at the real Spurn - the tides in this area and the actual blocks.

*with thanks to the Dept. of Geography, University of Hull

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Another look at the sea defences

While the tide was receding last Thursday we walked along the sea side. I continued to have another look at the sea defense blocks. They are positioned at the neck of Spurn - the most vulnerable part of the spit I think. The images are views from the same spot towards south and north.
The image below shows an aerial view of the scene. Interestingly the old road is marked as it must have been before it was washed away. Now it would lead into the sand and towards the sea. (The almost continuous line of blocks on the beach are the remains of the road that has been swept away.)

Click here to see a larger section.