Bank Holiday Monday and the Beach

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Rare, it seems, for a Bank Holiday Monday to be warm so when it happens at the end of May many people think of the beach. It could be the first opportunity to enjoy the sun whilst lounging, ice-cream in hand, watching the kids. So unless you’re in Scotland tomorrow where the weather is forecast to be not so agreeable, you might have a day out. I remember being taking to Lavernock or Barry Island as a kid and later to Bognor Regis or Hayling Island where people ran around in strange elasticated or woollen costumes. Then we just cared about the beach; we didn’t think about the quality of the water.
Today we have the Good Beach Guide to tell us which beaches are the cleanest to go to. Or, at least, which beaches have the cleanest water. The trouble is that this year’s guide which tested 777 beaches has shown the first drop in quality for some years.
Why?
The main suggestion it seems is the wet summer last year and the flood waters which ran into the outlets that led to the sea. The rains also raised the levels of sewage overflows and that contributed as well. So where the rain was heaviest, the water quality of the sea declined. Devon and Cornwall beaches have been hit with failures at places as popular as East Looe, Instow and Porthluney Cove but on the east coast at Torbay, every beach passed. Only one beach in Kent, Sandgate failed. In Yorkshire two beaches improved, Sandsend and Runswick Bay but Rhyl failed in North Wales as did Saltcoats in Scotland.
But is this method of categorising beaches fair?
These recordings were taken last summer. After heavy rains. In the nine months since the water quality will have changed depending on rainfall and what has happened in terms of cleanups. This summer is forecast to be hot and driesh. What’s the betting next year’s figures will show a rise in water quality merely because of that one factor?
Surely the best answer is to use common sense and, as the Marine Conservancy Council suggests, don’t go in the water if there has been heavy rainfall in the previous 24 hours.

Tags: ,