Camber seems be to a tourist destination of two halves, attracting two distinctly different groups of visitors.
The dunes are a magnet for young families, and many arrive in smart well equipped people carriers armed to the teeth with stuff for the beach, dads weighed down with cool boxes, wind breaks, deck chairs, inflatables, beach towels and children, whilst mum drags the pushchair backwards through the deep sand, dog in tow pulling at the lead, and a young child desperate to escape the pushchair and explore the dunes.
And the chip shop is once again coping well with the long queue outside, the cafés are also enjoying a socially distanced trade whilst the two corner shops can’t sell enough ice creams and fizzy drinks.
The car parks are often full by midday (especially at weekends), or at least filling up, and the £5 a day field attracts a steady trade of beachcombers wanting to make a day of it. Great business for local shops and the local economy and, without the annual influx of tourists, they probably wouldn’t survive.
Meanwhile, down the road at Jurys Gap it’s a different story, particularly later in the day and especially if it’s windy. The free car park is generally well patronised, but there is a noticeable change in vehicles. The people carriers have been replaced with smart and trendy vans, 4×4’s and family estate cars without the family on board.
There are very few children, but the dog walkers are there, mainly spectating as they watch the multi coloured rainbow evolve in front of them… the kite-surfing fraternity.
On Friday afternoon June 19 the beach was full of kite-surfers, men and women with multi coloured kites, and we counted 72 as they sped past in front of us dancing along the waves at what seemed to be an incredible speed. So exhilarating, but you certainly need to be fit to hold down the kite and avoid tangling with your neighbour’s ropes.
I happened to be walking along at Jury’s Gap again on Sunday June 21, and this time I gave up trying to count sails after reaching 250. It was an incredible sight and it attracted many onlookers mesmerised by the spectacle they were witnessing.
And when they left, the beach was largely as it was before they arrived – very little litter, no spent barbeques and no bulging bins in the car park for the sea gulls to attack later. I imagine the beaches and the dunes in Camber village would paint a different picture once everyone had gone home and the calm returned.
[Editor’s note: And Camber’s beach, like many around Britain, was packed in this week’s heatwave, with little or no sign of any social distancing – even just one metre – as yesterday’s (Thursday) TV news reported from around the UK. But days like that can be overwhelming for those who live in Camber, and next week’s OPINION will comment on how these issues should be – and need to be – addressed by the public bodies responsible]
Image Credits: Nick Forman .