As you look at this serene stretch of sand, photographed at the beginning of the week, you may have difficulty imagining what is really happening down there now. For, as I write, and as predicted, our north-east coast is being battered by the first gale-force winds of the season. You wouldn’t want to be on the beach right now! Going towards Bamburgh, you’d be screwing up your eyes against the nasty grains of sand which come at you in waves and blast against your face and stick in your ears and nose. I soon acquire a sandy mask whose sardonic qualities alarm everyone; under such conditions, the worst of which have to be seen to be believed, no one can stand upright. There is no such thing as emerging safely on to the beach: wildness is all. From an upstairs window at home we can see the gigantic waves battering Inner Farne and our thoughts turn to the tiny baby seals clinging to the rocks. Some will be lost, for sure. I cling close to the warmth of the hearth, having dashed outside for a quick pee just now. Enough, I cried! I know they will keep me safe and that we will all cleave together until we can run down the dunes again together and greet a smiling sea, as if all this had never happened. God bless creation!
”What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid