The tide looks fully out. Under the clear blue evening sky the north sea on the Northumberland coast is probably as smooth as it could ever be. Gentle waves only about three to four inches high gently lap the shore. We are here on a mid-August evening. Soft sand stretches in either direction as far as we can see with Coquet Island in front of us, yet we are almost alone. Just a few other remote figures. Where is everyone on this gloriously warm evening after a beautiful summers day?
Birds: oystercatchers, curlew, terns, gulls, cormorants, a couple of dark things flying that aren't cormorants, a small flock of 15 or so small white things flying close over the water to the rocks as the tide comes in and probably a few other unidentified waders or similar. I am reminded of the many times my father and I used to watch similar birds on the estuaries of north Wales when I was a teenager.
The tide turns and the rocks, covered in slippery brown and bright green seaweeds, are quickly submerged again. The sun makes one last peek out from beneath cloud over the Northumberland hills to the west and the dunes cast their shadows over the beach. The expanse of seaward horizon before us seems immense, reaching from Dunstanburgh Castle in the north to the power station chimney at Lynemouth in the south - a distance of approximately 25 miles.
This is one of the few places where I have ever seen my daughter be almost spellbound by the beauty of the natural world.