According to the Ordnance Survey, mainland Britain has around 11,000 miles of coast, which may seem excessive in a country that is just over 600 miles long. That is because we wiggle a lot – what mathematicians soberly call the Hausdorff dimension. But if you swam around the island, keeping about half a mile offshore, you’d probably only need to cover about 2,000 miles (which seems so much more doable!). Whichever number you choose, long stretches of the UK coast don’t get the attention they deserve – and as lockdown drags on, their salty call intensifies. Here are five of my favourites – worthy of exploration, as restrictions allow.
Walking up from Ynys Lochtyn , Ceredigion. Photograph: Jeff Tucker/Stockimo/Alamy
When I first saw Ynys Lochtyn, I wondered why I was alone. How could such a beautiful spot be deserted? A long, grassy slope led down to a cliff, below which a boulder-strewn tidal strand led to a small, rocky island. A few scuff marks on the rock indicated a way down the cliff so I descended to the beach, skirted some rock pools and climbed on to the island beyond. When I reached the final point, the most westerly lump of rock, I sat down and thought, “Now is the time for dolphins to appear…