Last year I was working recruiting members to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. Starting in November, I was one of those people you see in between the two exit doors of large stores like garden centres, toy shops and DIY stores. The only part I enjoyed was when speaking to someone about wildlife, the rest of the time I was stood in a cold draught with obnoxious sounds of Christmas, trying to attract people to come and talk to me. As wasn’t employed by the store I didn’t belong to them and was like some strange beggar standing there in a cramped position in between offers and store information. On December 4th I wasn’t working and I went to Gibraltar Point just beyond Skegness to have a look out for birds and have a cup of tea in the visitor centre. It was a calm day, and as I left I took some photos on the road out. The following day I was meant to be working at Donna Nook. This is where seals come to breed every year which are visible from the path and is another Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust place. I hadn’t been there but I was told I had to set up my table and information boards a few hundred yards from the car park. This already sounded like bad news, carrying this stuff along a coast path in December was surely inviting hypothermia, assuming I didn’t do my back in first. On December 5th the weather forecast was dire. Storms were forecast and I sent a text to my line manager about the predicted winds. He texted back saying he had been in touch with a warden at Donna Nook and it wasn’t too bad. I decided to go to the default centre in any case which was Gibraltar Point. I was able to set up inside the shop because it was cold in the corridor where I would have been. Hardly anyone came in, the volunteers had been sent home and there were only paid workers there. The winds started picking up and I took some photos from inside and a couple of short videos. I noticed the wind turbines that line the sky had stopped, perhaps turned off as the wind was strong, possibly force 9-10. I was told people in the building next door which had accommodation and ran courses had been evacuated and that everyone would have to take cars out of the car park as a tidal surge was expected. At about two in the afternoon I bought a souvenir from the shop which was probably the last purchase made there and packed up. Getting to the car was hard work. The tidal surge turned out to be the most serious since 1953, the North Sea floods or watersnoodramp as the event is called in the Netherlands. http://www.storm-surge.info/north-sea-flood-1953 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25253080 At Donna Nook the wardens and volunteers had to cut the fencing as seals and pups were being washed further up the shore and over the path. They worked as long as they could by torch light and the following day went back to find seals and pups separated and washed all over the area. The Gibraltar Point visitor centre was flooded by the sea and became unusable. A new centre is going to be built. http://www.lincstrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/gibraltar-point-national-nature-reserve/centre-and-cafe
December 4th, 2013 Gibraltar Point. Calm the day before the storm.
December 8th, 2013 Tideline, Visitor Centre
Donna Nook, December 17th, 2013. Seals chilling.
Skegness beach. Sand had to be moved.