The chain ferry hauls a handful of cars across the harbour on its first tug-of-war of the morning. As the links slacken we’re released onto the deserted road at Shell Bay. Cars hurry away, drivers heading for desk jobs at the start of a sweltering day. 

I’m on foot, alone, here to run.

Pausing at the sea’s edge, waves suck cold salty sand from under my feet, seaweed slithers fish-like between my toes and the breeze smells of a far-away storm.

The barren beach, fringed by green spikes of Marram, stretches its hand towards the chalk stacks apostrophizing the end of the bay.

Vermillion black-tipped beaks dipping the water…

Common terns scream, living up to their sea-swallow name. Vermillion black-tipped beaks dipping the water, nodding their coal-capped heads to the sea.

On the horizon a dark bank of cloud hangs over the dawn, outlined in silver and red it waits for the sun to haul herself into a new neon sky.

No shoes. One of the pleasures of beach running. 

The push-and-pull tempo of a billion shattered shells help pace my footfall. Sand plateaus roll. Storm gullies and banks, rippled by tides, hold water captive in pools. I dance more than run over uneven terrain.