Walking the Second Beach

Took Friday afternoon off I did, in true Yoda fashion, and hopped in the car and headed for Sligo to meet my old pal and to have a walk with him on the Second Beach at Rosses Point.

We were lucky with the weather. The sun shone us out and back and it was only on the final part of the return march that the wind fired in a squall from across the bay and the rain came on in drenching waves. 

We sheltered at the side of a car which was fortuitously parked at a good angle on the side of the road. It shielded our lower halves from the driven rain and our jackets looked after the top halves. There was a middle-aged couple in the car having sandwiches and a flask of tea and they were happy to loan us the side of their car in this way for five minutes, even going so far as to ask us if we wanted to climb in, though we knew they didn’t mean it really.

Social Distancing was easy; the nearest people were mere dots on the horizon for most of the time. You can tell the knowledgeable walkers on the Second Beach because they veer sharply to the right and away from the oceanside when they draw near to the cliffs at the end. They know what the novice visitor does not – that there is a busy stream than flows constantly through the golf course, down across the beach and into the tide. There is an easy crossing up close to the dunes. Nothing fancy, some rocks and a plank of wood, but if you try and cross it further down it’s deceptively deep and fast-running and you will get your socks wet. Follow the locals, veer to the right. You won’t go far wrong.

The second beach ends at the base of a small cliff and a rocky outcrop down to the shoreline. You can walk further but we didn’t. It gets a bit slippery over beyond. We’d come far enough.

We had so much catching up to do that the beach nearly passed me by. I got so engrossed in the conversation that I almost forgot to take it all in. The wild windswept blue sea, the sky, the lands across the bay. I only noticed the extreme erosion on the way back and, as I sit here and think about it, I can’t even be sure that the always-constant metal buoy was still there embedded in the sand as it always has been. It must have been, right? I’m mean it’s never not been there, for as long as I can remember. I guess the chat was so involving that I walked right past it. I guess that was it. I hope it’s still there, I used to like trying to climb up it when I was little and succeeding when I was bigger. At the end of the beach part of the walk, I had to stop and look around for a moment. Just to imprint it a little harder on the retina.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this post isn’t actually about much. There won’t be much detail, narrative, sense, or insight into anything useful. I drove to the beach in my old hometown, had a nice walk and a great chat and came home again. It did me a power of good but to try to explain why would be boring and a bit pointless. Anyway, you know why. It was the beach. It was a friend. It was a walk. You have all the tools to figure it out.

Rosses Point has always seemed a tiny bit ‘other-worldly’ to me. I think it’s because there’s so little down at the beaches to define it as particularly Irish. There’s no shops or administration buildings or anything like that. Just an abandoned beach store, long disused, and a hut for the lifeguards. Apart from that, you could perhaps be anywhere. It’s kind of a blank palatte of sea and sky on which you walk and dream a bit if you like.

A beach walk is a good thing. There’s the theme of this post. I knew it would show itself eventually.

And the Second Beach in Rosses Point has always been a part of my life, back from when I was very little. It is a wonderful place, expansive and bright. If you’re round that way, go and take a walk up and down it. 

Or any beach, for that matter. You’ll see what I mean.



Roberta B said...

I hear you, Ken. It took the lockdown for me to discover the rock strewn beaches within 5 km of home. Now there’s a collection of pink-hued paperweights on my windowsill. I examine one every so often, when I am in the mood to search for the secret meaning of life on Quay Road.

Fles said...

Thanks for sharing this walk, Ken - your blogs are like an oasis of calm in my weeks (often, not always!) and give me pause to reflect upon my own life experiences through the prism of your own. I miss it on your weeks off.

marty47 said...

We're lucky to have so many beaches on our doorstep Ken. I used to go regularly walking Harry the Springer on Cullenamore strand, til he took off into the waves after
seagulls went way out,just got ashore & kept on after the gull over the putting green on Strandhill Golf course, a guy on horseback caught him up heading toward Strandhill. 3 years on I haven't been to the beach. I remember as a youngster walking the 2nd & 3rd strands, on the 3rd I often half expected to see Patrick McGoohan run by being chased by a 9 foot balloon, Hope you're keeping well Ken, Take Care

Jim Murdoch said...

I don’t miss much in this life—I’m not one of life misserers (Birdie word)—but if a beach—sandy or rocky, I’m not fussed—appeared out my backyard overnight I would have no objections. I’m trying to remember the last time I was on a beach and it’s scarily-long ago. As a kid it was one of the places we regularly went walks but in those few months when I was back at my parents after my last marriage broke down we never got that far. Mostly we’d wander through the industrial estate, along the harbour and back through the housing estate. The last beach I was on was probably Ayr with B. who I was in something with; I’d use the l-word but it’s too long ago to trust my memories. Don’t know how I wangled the meeting—I was always coming up with excuses to run into her (sad, I know)—but after lunch we went for a stroll down the beach. I wrote a not-very-good poem about it in August 1989. So thirty-two years and one month. That’s a long time to go without a beach.

Carrie and I have been talking about moving. A few reasons but the main one is probably the inconsiderate neighbours. May never happen—we do like our wee flat—but it’s fun to daydream. Anyway I found this place in Gourock that pretty much ticks all the boxes and the estate agent had (wisely) included photos looking out of the window over the bay and I was surprised how much I pined for that flat. It’s odd. I’m pretty scared of water—always have been—but I do like being around it.

Christopher Daley said...

Oh man, I desperately need a beach walk. Somewhere down the road Sheri and I are going to have to figure out a way to make this happen.

Marc Paterson said...

We live near the sea, not by the sea but near enough that I can see a little blue strip of it when walking the dog. I should take the dog there more often but I don't. It's a short drive.