Monday, 9 June 2014

Tractors on the beach



The seaside town of Cromer lies on the UK’s east coast. Perched on the edge of crumbling north Norfolk cliffs, it is famous for tasty crabs, wide open beaches and a traditional Victorian pier complete with theatre and a seaside special variety show.

Its unique geographical location jutting out into the North Sea means that on a blue sky summer’s day you can watch both sunrise and sunset over the ocean.

This does imply, of course, that you are diligent enough to rise exceptionally early and still be wakeful enough at the other end of the day to repose on the pier, perhaps with beer in hand.

There is no quay-side or harbour at Cromer so the fishing boats are gathered on the shingle beach against the sea wall, each with its own tractor and boat trailer.

At the end of the 19th century, the beaches to the east and west of the pier were crowded with fishing boats. Now, you will see only a dozen boats which ply their trade from the east beach.

Crabs - dressed or undressed according to your state of desire - can be bought direct from local fishermen, or enjoyed at local restaurants in salads, tarts and sandwiches.

Today, it is not the crabs themselves that grab our interest but the rusty, salt-laden army of ancient and colourful tractors that line the beach head.

They are adorned and customised with all manner of fixtures and fittings - from plastic deckchairs as replacement seats to makeshift gear sticks and lashed on tarpaulins to keep the worst of the elements out of the workings.

Most look so rusted through with salt it seems a miracle their sand-blasted engines would ever start.

But somehow they defy mechanical odds and, with crabbing boats in tow, continue to chug across the shingle beach to the water’s edge and back.

The photos below are a selection from the Lighthouse Keeper's visit to Cromer on a sunny and warm afternoon a few days ago. All were taken with a Nikon D70 SLR camera.








All photos by Clive Simpson

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