[Editor’s note: Before anyone comments, during lockdown “you must stay at home except for specific purposes” or you could be fined between £1,000 and £10,000, the relevant statutory instrument goes on to say that “specific purposes” include “taking exercise outside alone”, and taking photographs could be described as exercise, or recreation]
It is easy to forget how manic Camber was earlier in the year with unprecedented numbers of visitors descending on this gem of a coastal spectacle from all parts of the country. It was a bit like trying to cram your whole wardrobe into a small suitcase to take on holiday – it just won’t fit, and something has to give.
Remember the seemingly endless queues of sun worshippers clogging up all the approach roads to Rye and Camber, eager to secure their ‘pitch’ on the golden sands, parking where they could or shouldn’t, and often a long way away from the beach.
Toilets were closed, litter and worse everywhere, angry locals not being able to access their drives, buses not being able to negotiate between the scores of illegally parked vehicles, and everyone hoping a major incident didn’t occur involving access for emergency services.
On windy days the ‘regular’ tourists were replaced with a different type of visitor, the kite surfers and wind surfers with their fleets of especially adapted or shiny vans, often flying though the air, or skimming along the top of the water at speed, dodging each other in a kaleidoscope of colour, an amazing spectacle for any spectator to enjoy.
Throughout the year, dog walkers and family groups visit Camber Sands, often getting there before or after the hordes have arrived or left, to enjoy the vast open space without having to manoeuvre between beach tents, sand castles, prams and beach towels.
But activity in Camber changes dramatically with the seasonal weather change and, with the onset of autumn and then winter, the annual calm will once again return to Camber Sands, but this year it came quickly to a head with the government’s most recent Covid-19 related announcement.
Thursday last week, November 5 2020 was the first day of the second national lockdown, and we knew it was coming this time, knew what it looked like, and had a little more time to prepare.
Jurys Gap in lockdown is a completely different place to what we witness for much of the year, as it really can be breathtakingly beautiful and surreal at different times of the day with empty car parks, deserted beaches, no bulging bins, and roads which you can drive along at normal speed without getting enveloped with thousands of others, all trying to achieve the same.
I wanted to share the images with you, taken at Jurys Gap at different times of day, the main photo (top) is of the sun sinking behind the headland which evokes memories of Ayres Rock in Australia (other than the sea in front), and I feel captures the serenity and natural beauty of the setting sun, whilst the second shot taken earlier in the day just captures a lone surfer in the far distance as he or she crosses over the shaft of sunlight as the tide swallows up the sands.
Jurys Gap at Camber is still a very special place and with all the seasonal excitement finally ended it is now well worth a revisit, somewhere you can escape to, somewhere peaceful to reflect during lockdown, but within the regulations of course. There’s plenty of room to park for free and, depending on when you arrive, you may witness some amazing sun rises or sunsets, and now there are no crowds, no traffic jams and no distractions.
Just a chance to savour the peace and quiet and the chance to walk along the beaches or sea defences and enjoy the spectacle of one of the most amazing stretches of natural coastlines and sandy beaches in the country.
Image Credits: Nick Forman .