As UK temperatures hit record highs of 33.3C (91.94F) on the Bank Holiday weekend, August 24-26, Rye’s jazz festival pulled in the crowds, while Camber ground to a halt as the South East headed for the sands.
Elsewhere, though, life was slightly calmer as local farmers harvested their crops on the Marsh (below left) and visitors enjoyed really fresh fish meals at Dungeness (below right).
Rye, however, was noisy and lively with festival concerts in St Mary’s Church and just as much music in the streets. But back at the railway station rail replacement buses were on standby (just in case) because of the extreme temperatures promised.
Four-coach trains were also promised because crowds of sun-seekers were expected, and a four-coach train had been seen the weekend before. However that was because a fallen tree stopped trains going into Hastings, and two trains were joined together and sent back to Ashford.
Other problems affecting train services included sheep on the line, a points failure, and also an angry swan with its foot stuck somehow under the track – which was a challenge for the rail staff!
On Monday, however, the first bus of the day set off quite normally with a full load – some for Pontins and others for jazz at The Gallivant, whose car park was packed.
Meanwhile cars were starting to queue at Camber’s main car park, the beach patrol was busy handing out wrist bands to minimise the number of lost children, and Rother District Council’s coastal officer and a couple of policemen were awaiting the frequent quota of domestic disputes on the beach.
The lifeguards were also ready – though the inflatables got there before their warning flags – and the lifeguards may have been one of the early victims of the growing traffic. Meanwhile though, back in Rye, the bands were hitting the streets.
The 10:19am bus back to Rye took nearly 20 minutes to load up with departing Pontins’ guests whose luggage was sometimes bigger than they were – and the solid queue of cars already stretched back past the golf course to Salts Farm – and the circus.
And an unmanned electric signboard suggested that Camber might be suffering a few delays …. as our local correspondent Carol Macdonald reports :
“Camber is an iconic beach but…. this past weekend, the bank holiday weekend, the weather was forecast to be exceptionally hot, sunny and ripe for swimming in the sea.
Therefore Camber – a village – once again experienced the turmoil of the crowds descending upon the few official car parking facilities and once again the residents experienced some nightmarish scenarios – with parking (see top photo) on both sides of the main road through Camber often causing obstructions.
Residents know better than to venture out on days like these, but it was again disastrous for those not familiar with Camber’s problems. Buses ceased to function at all – giving up in the mornings. And taxi drivers would not touch the trip.
Camber was gridlocked – and the beach was almost at saturation point at high tide.
Back in Rye roads were also closed – but as part of a pre-arranged plan (see photo above) to keep people and cars apart, but moving!
And music was everywhere from Hilders Cliff at one end of the High Street to the Strand at the other end of town.
Image Credits: John Zammo Barlow , Chris Lawson , Rye News library , Ray Prewer , Rye News photographer , John Minter .