5 February 2017

1/40 West Runton Beach, Norfolk

On the 18th August 2001, DrLanky and I were married in the church at West Runton, and you might think that, given the connection, I would be well acquainted with its beach. The truth is that before this trip, the nearest I'd ever got was the cafe at the end of Water Lane.

Given the importance of West Runton to us and our family history, it seemed quite appropriate that this would be the first of our forty visits. It also helps that our first trek was not too far, West Runton being only half an hour from our home in Cawston.

Of course, I'm well aware of the exciting fossil finds along this part of the North Norfolk coast, and that was part of the attraction for our first jaunt. In Clitheroe, our previous home, fossilised crinoids could easily be found in the stone walls of buildings, and NotSoLittleLanky has been fascinated by fossils ever since. So the prospect of a bit of mammoth hunting on a beach was a fairly easy win from a family point of view!

The black feature you can see at the bottom of the cliff on the top picture is a layer of sediment called the West Runton Freshwater Bed. Read all about it here. Here's a close up where the tide has been working away at it - there's nothing particularly interesting in the picture, I just liked the swirling patterns of colour.

The beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and it's easy to see why. Even in our short time there, and with untrained eyes, we could clearly see lots of fossilised bits and pieces. No mammoths or rhinocerous bones (as reported by the BBC this week), but fascinating nonetheless.

Part of the plan with the forty visits is to make the effort to go to some of the places on our doorstep, and another is to get out and about as a family. Now that our family has expanded in a canine way, there's also an added incentive to find places where Basil the Sprocker can run off a few of his innumerable calories. Beaches are great for this! We discovered that Basil has a good digging instinct and he certainly has no fear of water. So I suspect there may be a subset of beach visits within this 40/40 challenge.

So now our minds turn from West Runton to the next adventure. Thanks for the suggestions already left in comments. Who knows where we'll get to next? Keep the suggestions coming.

40/40 Vision

So this is the year when I will turn 40. For some deep-seated reason we seem to put great importance
on numbers ending in a '0'. I'm not sure I understand it, but never mind!

A friend in the parish also clocks up 40 years in 2017, and she has been set a series of 40 challenges by her wonderful family. This got me thinking; something that doesn't happen so much these days.
As well as being the year of my 40th, this is also a time of change for my family and me. We're a year in to our Norfolk adventure and it seems like we've only just arrived in so many ways. There are so many ways in which we do feel well settled, but for a Lancashire lad whose longest exile was less than 2 years in Cambridge, Norfolk is still quite new.

DrLanky and I were married in 2001, and since before then I've been coming to Norfolk to visit family. This means I'm very familiar with the A17 and the town of
Sheringham, but it also means that my experience of Norfolk has been fairly limited.
All of this led me to think that I need to get to know my new home a bit better, so why not copy Amelia's idea, but with a personalised twist. So during this momentous year, I'm going to visit 40 places I've never been to before. The plan is that many of these will be in Norfolk, but that some will be further afield.

I'm the kind of person who likes to meander around the countryside discovering new places. This is the way I get my bearings and learn the territory. So the project is both symbolic and practical. Each visit will bring forth images and videos, and these will be recorded here on the blog.
If you have any suggestions for places (particularly in East Anglia) that we should visit, please comment!