How fast is the incoming tide?

Don’t get caught out on a beach

Last weekend we took the dogs for a walk at Talacre beach on the North Wales coast about 90 minutes before high tide. It’s a wide, sandy beach that shelves off into the edge of the Dee estuary at one end and guarded by dunes on the landward side. It’s a notorious spot for flooding on a Spring tide, and the car park is often closed due to risk of flooding.

I shot this short video after seeing the incoming tide swiftly and silently fill in a channel behind where we were walking, turning our patch of beach into an island (and then swallowing it a few minutes later).

In the video you can see just how quickly an incoming tide ‘moves’, covering the height of the GoPro Session camera (about 4cm high) in under a minute.

Sandy beaches, estuaries and muddy areas of coastline can quickly become cut off from the shore and eventually be covered in minutes, and you should always be aware of the tide times, movements and have a couple of escape routes planned if walking on the shoreline. In this case we just stepped through the water and to the dunes behind – but if it had been a small cove or secluded beach bounded by cliffs we could have found ourselves in serious trouble.

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