Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Choice Coastal Site Sights

I was reminded this week of fondant UK holidays, before and after the move to East Anglia, by a Tweeted Twitpic of a sledging slope from bracing Cromer by journo edpmary.

Pictured, the cliff top walk is between Cromer and another Victorian favourite Overstrand, affectionately known as Poppyland. I have stayed at the rather grand Sea Marge hotel but equally enjoyed a step back in time home cooked meal at the dog friendly, and aptly named, Cliff Top Cafe. I have such fond memories of this tea and cake emporium, I have a print by Brian Lewis on my wall with a view from the cafe, across the crab pots, out to sea.

As of yet, there is nothing concrete, or metal come to that, on the horizon. But, by 2011, 88 turbines should be up and running each of which producing twice as much energy as the land locked Enertrag windmills at North Pickenham.

Sheringham  Shoal, to be sited 10 miles off the coast, should produce over 1TWh of energy annually, enough to power a quarter of a million houses, assuming the wind keep blowing. With steady sales of windbreaks on the Norfolk coast, there is every chance of that.

Should be enough juice to power the historic octagonal Cromer lighthouse, built in 1833 and now unmanned since 1990, for some time to come. No such local energy available for the beacons on the Northern Sea Route, also known as the North East Passage, joining Western Europe to the Barents Strait and beyond via the Arctic Circle. In Soviet times the route, which dramatically reduced the distance travelled compared to the trip via the Suez Canal, pinpointed peril points with nuclear powered lighthouses. The radioisotope thermoelectric generators are less potent than regular nuclear power plants and were also used in soviet satellites.

Now redundant, relinquished and rather rumpled, the decaying monoliths, still with their nuclear hearts intact, are free for the foolhardy to photograph or pilfer precious plate. Photographed on a clement day belies the dangers hidden during perpetual darkness and heavy storms. This one is on Sakhalin, Russia's largest island off the east coast just north of Japan, one of many lighthouses that surround the island, whose seas occasionally ice over.

Talk of cliffs and icing brings back those holiday memories at Overstrand. The delicious cakes were more in the Victoria Sponge, Dundee and Lemon Drizzle variety rather than this collection of cup cakes. 101 cakes, with icing in the form of games of one sort or another, to celebrate the new year. Crazy creative cookery colouring.

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