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  • Writer's pictureAlison Hayward

Off the edge of a cliff - Bempton Cliffs

Day off and a trip to Bempton cliffs, had a lucky hour or so before the weather really broke. It's a place I hadn't been to for years and years, fond memories with all the imperfect recall and clouded with emotion, to revisit and maybe encounter disappointment, that is always a risk.

It is as incredible as I remembered it, sea bird city is right and those cliffs are truly awesome. I wondered if being a bigger person, physically, might lessen the impact. Not for a moment, the reverse, it is a majestic and fragile landscape.

There were things I had forgotten, like the smell, sea bird colonies smell. Not unpleasant but not something I would want to have 24 hours a day. And the noise; the sea, the waves and the birds a natural orchestra. Discordant and with an irregular beat but wild and beautiful.

Last time I saw Puffins - Fratercula arctica, probably 15 years ago on the Farne islands. Comic and unmistakable but tough as they come.

Gannets are huge and beautiful, Razorbills -Alca torda might be my spirit bird, Kittiwakes - Rissa tridactyla the most elegant of gulls, Guillemots - Uria aalge the sharp suited cliff hanger and Fulmars - Fulmarus glacialiswell what's not to like, a bird that can pelt you with pureed fishy snot.

The windy grey conditions meant not many people and plenty of aerobatics from the birds.

If you ever get the chance go see for yourself. The UK coastline and surrounding seas are incredibly important for seabirds globally they are amazing and deserve not just our awe and love but our protection too.

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