My bucket list is an enormous and hugely moveable beast. The older I get, the more things I do, the bigger the list gets. This is partly because I keep discovering things that sound like fun, but also because I am all to aware of the limitations of my life and actively search out things that are doable rather than things that might never happen (no lectures on dreaming please, I still do that, but it’s important to live life now rather than always waiting for the big thing). Anyway, one of the things left on my list that has been there since I started it, that made it on the list thanks to happy childhood memories of doing this with my Dad as a kid, is fossil hunting.
Runswick Bay on OS Maps.
Jenni, my outdoors loving friend and fellow Outdoor Bloggers organiser, posted a little while go about how she’d been fossil hunting on the Yorkshire coast. Without hesitation I tweeted her – please take me with you next time you go! Always willing to spend a day outside, armed with a variety of sharp and heavy tools and a flask of tea, we headed up to the Yorkshire coast to see what we could find.
Our view while eating fish and chips in Whitby.
Jenni knew exactly what she was doing. We checked the tide times and because we knew the window of opportunity would be early afternoon, we stopped in Whitby for a fish and chip lunch by the harbour. Despite being November we were treated to a beautiful blue sky and it was so nice to sit out by the water and eat – you just can’t beat it.
Runswick Bay. What a gorgeous place!
Driving down to Runswick Bay is an experience in itself thanks to the super steep descent to the public carpark. We parked up, put our boots and hats on (it might have been a nice day, but it was cold!), and headed for a wander around the village while we waited for the tide to go out enough for us to walk around the headland. The village is absolutely beautiful, full of little cottages, narrow streets with no cars, cobbles and little steps, all looking out to sea – I can definitely see why people would want to live here. The houses were certainly well kept; in fact most of them were holiday lets, and as this was out of season we were pretty much alone as we wandered around – lovely.
The sandy beach area in the bay was the first to be revealed as the tide went out, and so we headed down to walk along it. Jenni spent some time collecting up pretty grey and red rocks (I must ask her what she’s done with them all), and we were both super happy just enjoying the sand and sea. Jenni spotted a couple of small fossils but there weren’t any rocks to bash open here, so we were pleased when the tide finally withdrew enough for us to head in the other direction.
Blue sky, sea, pebbles, my favourite.
The village from the beach.
A fossil imprint we found on the beach.
I took so many photos of the bay. Just beautiful.
We clambered over boulders, that were quite slippery in places thanks to seaweed and the recent tide, and made our way as far around the headland as we thought was sensible. I was in my element – I have so many happy memories of being allowed to simply run off and explore rock pools and the like when holidaying as a child, just this act of making our way over the big slippery rocks made me happy! There had been a recent landslide from the cliff towering above, and the light was fading thanks to the time of year, so when Jenni suggested we didn’t go much further I was very happy to listen to her.
Jenni clambering over rocks with her axe. Perfectly safe.
We grabbed the various tools we’d brought from the bag and got to work, using our implements to break open the slate rocks hoping to find all kinds of fossils. We might not have found a whole dinosaur (this time), but we did uncover quite a few little fossils that were truly fascinating. I think Jenni would have rather found something big and impressive for her (quite amazing) shelf of stuff at home, but I’ve still got a handful of my little fossils sat on my kitchen window and I love them! We may not have reached the best area for fossil hunting, but I had such fun with Jenni clambering over the rocks, smashing some of them to bits, and finding a few little fossils. What a brilliant way to get outside!
Fossil hunting at Runswick Bay.
A fossil imprint I found.
The light beat us in the end and I really couldn’t see what I was smashing anymore (it’s okay, we’d put the axe away by now!), so we headed back to the village over the rocks. The icing on the cake? Sitting on a bench overlooking the bay, watching the moonlight glisten and listening to the waves crash, drinking tea before we got back in the car to head home for a yummy slow cooker chicken dinner.
The moon over Runswick Bay.
If you have never been fossil hunting, or haven’t been for years like me, then it really is a great way to spend the day. Be sure to do your research; if you are heading to the shoreline make sure you know the tide times and keep an eye on the time and the waves and the light. And let me know what you find!