24 January 2007

Branscombe Beach c. 160,000,000BC-2007

Bring out the Branscombe Mourners are already gathering to commemorate Devon's Branscombe Beach which died this week after being poisoned by the cargo ship MSC Napoli and trampled to death by freelance “environmentalists” engaged in a desperate last-ditch “rescue mission” (their mission being to rescue as much free stuff as possible before the police realised that taking shipwrecked goods without consent is actually theft).

Branscombe Beach began its very long life during the Jurassic Period over 200 million years ago when a marine incursion flooded Devon, providing it with its first shale beaches, spectacular cliffs, wonderful sea views and the beginnings of a long history of coastal vandalism.

For most of its life, Branscombe Beach contented itself with lying around and staring peacefully out to sea – its seaside idyll shattered only by the occasional passing teenage Ichthyosaur pausing just long enough to leave it’s footprint in some fresh shale for posterity.

It was with the arrival of Man that Branscombe Beach’s life changed forever. Early Neanderthals would gather by the sea in summer to complain that the beach was pebbly and not sandy, scream at their children, and dream of a day when the sea would bear giant cargo coracles that they could lure to the shore and pillage.

Celtic tribes settled near the beach around the start of the last millennium but continuous battles over seaside cream-tea franchises are thought to have taken their toll on the Beach. Its health continued to suffer in its later years as hopes of a quiet retirement were further dashed by an influx of smugglers and professional shipwreckers, lighting fires on the Beach and luring unsuspecting ships (and seamen) to their death in the hope of “salvaging” the latest tricorn hats bound for the Americas, or a BMW coach and four.

The Beach's weakened constitution was dealt a fatal blow last weekend when the MSC Napoli, bound for South Africa, foundered just off the strand, choking the Beach with fuel oil and the personal possessions of a Swedish family – including their prized collection of Abba albums and a cherished Ikea "Billy" bookcase that had been in the family for nearly 15 years.

Branscombe Beach was buried beneath a mountain of twisted freight containers, shattered gear-boxes, nappies and looters who were “just looking after the motorbike until we can return it to its rightful owner”, not to mention a thin veneer of oil, dead marine life and asphyxiated seabirds. The local council has refused permission for a cremation.

The Beach is survived by hundreds of miles of unspoilt Devon coastline – until the next ship disgorges its cargo providing a magnet for thieves from as far away as Middlesborough, desperate to get their hands on an empty barrel or some brine-flavoured cat food.


james higham said...

This is the sort of thing I find quite upsetting. Thanks for the post. I've been following this story.

Colin Campbell said...

Very nicely summarised. I love the link with history.