Seaton Sluice, Northumberland: Redshanks and a curlew mingle with the small boats Donna J, Wendy G and Wor Ted
The low tide at Seaton Sluice has left lines in the hard-packed sand, indentations like a map of Norway, all inlets and fjords. With no water in the narrow harbour, we can enter over a curving sandbank between high bladderwracked walls. It was this propensity to silt up which led to local landowner Sir Ralph Delaval having sluice gates built in the 17th century. These closed with the incoming tide to be reopened at low water, flushing out the sand and giving the town its name.
The further we get from the harbour mouth, the muddier it gets underfoot. Small boats have been left dry, their dank looped ropes attached to old tyres in the silty bottom. Their names speak of people, and I wonder who they were: Donna J, Elsie Eira, Wendy G, My Girl, Wor Ted.