Whitstable and Margate

The sun rises slowly over the black hill and strikes the sleeping town; it lights the flocks of restless turnstones that sit out the high tide on the quayside and flat-topped marker buoy, clad in rough-hewn timber. A single Sandwich tern flies by and a cormorant perches precariously on a high marker post. The coast is quiet and empty of traffic.

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Cormorant on a marker post

By mid-morning, Whitstable rings to the plaintive sounds of young herring gulls begging food from parents.  Along with starlings, house sparrows and turnstones, they work the spilt fish and chips around the little harbour and along the sea wall; a bunch of chancers in a town that is forgiving on a sunny weekend.  This is an old fishing port, a chic tourist destination with colourful shops, fresh oysters and pebbled beach and working harbour with fenced yards stacked with gravel and sand and steel-clad warehouses.

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Oyster racks at low tide from the beach

Margate has recently been revived with the advent of the Turner Contemporary and the huge arc of sandy beach holds but a handful of people.  Behind the coast road, the narrow streets are lined with restaurants, galleries, antique shops and micro breweries.

 

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