This image was derived from the natural pattern in the sand created by the ebbing rude.
The beach at Brancaster has many ‘moods’. At low tide all appears calm and peaceful but the speed with which the rising tide approaches can be extremely dangerous, leaving happy paddlers cut off from safety. In stormy weather the boisterous and sometimes violent North Sea attacks the vulnerable stretches of the coast and there is a constant battle between land v sea.
Beach in October
Where land and level acres of sea merge
seamlessly, waves hypnotically lapping,
endlessly oozing over ridged flats
scattered with brittle quills,bleached shard,
skeleton shells, oceanic detritus.
Drifting awareness of keening gulls,salt on the tongue.
As life blurs into the vast movement
of an ever widening scene, this brief,
vital moment in time imprints
deeply into the palimpsest of the mind.
An unmissable feature, visible on Brancaster beach at low tide, is the wreck of the SS Vina.
Built in 1894, the Vina carried crago from England’s east coast to the Baltic States.
In 1940 the ship was requisitioned by the navy, filled with concrete and wired with explosives. It was then towed into position to protect Great Yarmouth harbour. In the event of an invasion the ship would be detonated and the harbour blocked.
It was not needed for that purpose but in 1943 it was towed to Brancaster and anchored off-shore. It was used by the RAF for target practice during the period leading up to the Normandy landing.
A strong north-west gale caused the vessel to drag anchor and, riddled with holes from the gunfire, it drifted on to a sandbank and became stranded.
In the years since World War II various salvage attempts have been made, including carving the ship into three parts. But efforts have been unsuccessful. The wreck continues to present a serious hazard to shipping and also to adventurous visitors tempted to take a closer look.