"Coastal craving", says Graeme "wasn't that a song by KD Lang"? "No. That was Constant Craving" I say, tutting a bit.
Coastal craving is clearly miles better, especially when it's a condition that means you can't help but jump in the car and seek out some very cool beaches in Somerset... and that's exactly what we did recently, when we decided the sunshine and sundown just had to be soaked up on the seafront, somewhere we've never properly explored before.
Our little adventure starts as all great adventures should... with fish and chips! Now I don't know about you, but we're a bit fish and chip fussy (yes, that's totally a thing) so we *might* have done an obsessive amount of research to track down the very best fish and chips known to Weston-super-Mare. We want to take the dogs and check out Sand Bay you see, and we work out that if we get fish and chips (and a veggie option) from Weston, we'll travel the two miles to Sand Bay in a matter of minutes (ten) and be on a quiet stretch of hound friendly sand, happily munching our tea in the early evening sunshine.
And oh, do we choose well!
Papas is a bit of a Somerset fish and chip institution where "every day is fryday", they have pictures on the walls of various celebs enjoying their fish and chip suppers and the queue is out the door! Well, when it's good it's very very good - and it's definitely worth the wait.
Shortly after wrap-up, we find our spot on the Bay, give Petal and Flower a bit of their own fish and breathe in the sea air, mixed with the salty scent of chips! Perfect :).
And Petal and Flower definitely approve of the sea-for-miles view...
The beach itself is huge, totally unspoiled and on this particular Saturday, it's incredibly peaceful. There are just a handful of other dog walkers out and about, treading their own path over the long stretch of sand and shingle - and we spy a pony and rider, gently trotting along in warmth of the early evening.
As the sun casts dancing shadows over the Bristol Channel, we look across to South Wales, feel the damp sand underneath our feet and err... the windy weather ruins the romance of the moment!! ;)
Anyway, the point is Sand Bay is a gorgeous beach, totally dog friendly and we'll be back in a flash! If you're looking for a hidden gem, you won't be disappointed.
The next stop on our tour is Burnham-On-Sea, to check out the award-winning beach there. It's the beating heart of the town and we've all seen amazing pictures of the iconic low lighthouse on the sands...
I'd never seen it properly in real life before and it's a stunning landmark, for sure... whatever the weather!
Anyway, the beaches around it are split into four sections and this is pretty key if you want to take your dog with you, because most of the sections are off limits for walking your woofers - depending on the time of year!
Here's a very quick round-up of the rules:
Beach 1 - The main beach
On Burnham's main beach, which includes Britain's shortest Pier (more of a pavilion really, with some amusements and food), it's no dogs allowed all year round. A hound-free swimming and paddling beach is what you'll find and there are lots of signs, so you won't forget! ;)
Beach 2 - South beach
You'll find this section on the left hand side of the main beach as you face the sea - the sand near the jetty and the pebbles and marshland further up near the River Parrett. It's a dog free zone from May 1st to September 30th. Outside of those times, it's fine to take your furry friends exploring.
Beach 3 - North beach
Here you'll find a mix of sand and mud, with the sea wall and steps sheltering it. You can't walk your dogs here from May 1st to Sepetember 30th.
Beach 4 - The dog friendly bit!
This is basically the area around the low lighthouse and away off to the right of it (if you stand looking out to sea). We love an evening walk here, whether it's sunshine or cloud!
Here's the place for dogs all year round and the start of the six-mile stretch of beach that connects to beautiful Berrow - our next stop. And practical alert... there's no real car parking to speak of near this dog friendly bit (apart from down a small side street), so it's best to park along the front and walk to it (avoiding beaches 1, 2 and 3 as you go, depending on the time of year).
So... after figuring out that little lot, it's off to Berrow for a beach sunset Somerset style - and wow, are we lucky on this particular night! We don't know it as we drive up (we just take a lucky punt!) but the beach is west facing, so it's the perfect spot for a spectacular sundown.
Berrow is dog friendly, child friendly and everyone seems well, really friendly :) so it's a real hit with us... and skies like these take our breath away, that's for sure.
If you're looking for a huge expanse of flat sand, backed by dunes and a place to get completely lost in a Somerset sunset, you might just've found your perfect place too!
Up the road from Berrow, is the equally 'everything friendly' Brean beach - a fantastic stretch of sand...
...and there's the climb up to the Brean Down National Trust Fort for awesome views of Weston-super-Mare and across the channel to Wales. It definitely blows the cobwebs away!
If you're a long term reader of the blog, you'll know we've been to Brean Down a fair few times and we couldn't do North Somerset beaches without giving it a little mention.
And so to the last stop on this particular leg of our North Somerset beach tour... and that's the gorgeous seaside town of Clevedon.
We make this trip the following day and we're dogless! After Burnham, we want to check it all out first to work out where we can and can't take Petal and Flower the next time we visit - and we're happily surprised!
The beautiful Grade 1 listed Clevedon Pier is very dog friendly - they even choose a 'dog of the day' photo on their Instagram, from the hounds that have brought their owners out for a visit on any particular day! Way to go CP! ;)
The only place you can't take your furry friends is into the museum, but it's a lovely walk to the bottom of the Pier with plenty of places to stop, sit and take in the stunning views.
We stroll to the Pagoda Cafe at the very end (it's open throughout the Summer) and have a drink to soak up the sun and the surroundings, making a mental note to come back with the dogs for a sundowner one night. The Cafe is open for sunset until September 2nd and prosecco is on offer - result!
The beach itself overlooks the Pier, is a mix of shingle, sand and pebble and on this Summer Sunday, there are plenty of people with chairs and towels, splashing, sunning themselves and swimming. It's not dog friendly though, so you won't see Petal or Flower there in their swimming cosies any time soon!
As we stand looking over the railings, with the sun on our faces, it really feels as though there's something very special about the town. Clevedon needs (and over time will get) several blogs, as we're a little bit smitten and there's tons to shout about!
For now though, we grab an ice cream and head back home to tell Petal and Flower about their next adventure... dreaming of the very cool Somerset beaches we've discovered and the brilliant places we'll return to time and time again, come rain, wind, cloud or shine!
We hope this has inspired you to 'get down the beach' too? ;)