Imagine a beach: a quiet place, with only the noise of the sea and the gulls in the background. It’s a hot day. There is just the sea, the sun, and the beach: a little paradise.

A beach


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A beach

By John Russell

Imagine a beach; a quiet place, with only the noise of the sea and the gulls in the background. There are boats floating near the shore and a few people swimming in the water next to them. It’s a hot day, and there are some people lying on the sand enjoying the sunshine and slowly going brown. There are no shops, no people making noises, no loud music, everything is peaceful. There is just the sea, the sun, and the beach; a little paradise.

Where is it?

The beach is on the south coast of Scotland, near a little town called Gatehouse of Fleet in the county of Dumfries and Galloway. 22 years ago my family and I found this place for the first time and we have never really left it. Every year in the summer while other people go on holiday to foreign countries and exotic places, we go to our private paradise and relax. There is a little campsite with tents and caravans next to the beach, and this becomes our home for one month every year.

Growing up

For a child a beach is a wonderful place. Here I found lots of space to run and play on the sand or to swim in the water. Being a campsite there were always lots of other families with children to play with. Another of my favourite activities was climbing on the rocks and cliffs around the beach. Rock pools were very educational places where I used to study the little fish and sea animals. Silence was also important; at school I was always surrounded by people and noise but the beach gave me the chance to be on my own and think, or read, away from anyone else.


Although the sea can be beautiful, this beach is sometimes a dangerous place to be. When the weather is bad there are often storms with strong winds. When this happens the waves can get up to 2-3 metres high – definitely not weather for swimming. Every year some of the boats anchored on the beach are lost because the sea is so rough. I remember holding down our tent to stop the wind blowing it away on many occasions! However, if the waves weren’t too high all the children (and some adults) used to go swimming in life jackets, as it was very exciting.

An interesting hobby

Sailing is a very serious activity in the UK, and this beach is no different. There are large racing boats for three or more people, smaller boats (such as the Topper) for just one or two people, fishing boats and windsurfers. In fact people on this beach are willing to try any type of water-sport; water skiing, speed boating, even the recent sport of sail surfing is becoming popular. Over the years my family has had 4 different boats, from a small Topper to a large Caprice for racing. We have sailed, raced, and fished off the boats, and have even capsized in bad weather a few times.


If this beach had been next to a town or near a popular tourist area I don’t think we would have continued going there. But its location is very beautiful indeed. It’s in the middle of green countryside with many different types of plants and flowers, and in the background the hills of Galloway can be seen. Lots of photographers and artists come to the area (also known as the Solway) because they can capture such beautiful scenery.

A refuge

Even after 22 years, the beach is still a sanctuary for me. It’s a place away from the rest of the world where I can forget about life’s problems, and just relax. In today’s modern, busy world, everyone should have a place like this.


anchor (v.): to make something or someone stay in one position by fastening them firmly.

campsite (n.): a piece of land where people on holiday can camp, usually with toilets and places for washing.

capsize (v.): to (cause a boat or ship to) turn upside down accidentally while on water.

capture (v.): to record or take a picture of something using a camera.

caravan (n.): a wheeled vehicle for living or travelling in, especially for holidays, which contains beds and cooking equipment and can be pulled by a car.

cliff (n.): a high area of rock with a very steep side, often on a coast.

float (v.): to stay on the surface of a liquid and not sink.

gulls (n.): a sea bird with black and white or grey and white feathers.

life jacket (n.): a piece of equipment, like a jacket without sleeves, which is filled with air or light material and designed to help someone float if they fall into water.

paradise (n.): a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be.

refuge (n.): (a place which gives) protection or shelter from danger, trouble, unhappiness, etc.

rock pool (n.): a small area of sea water contained by the rocks around it.

sanctuary (n.): protection or a safe place.

tent (n.): a shelter made of cloth, which you can fold up and carry with you and which is supported by poles and ropes.

water-sport (n.): sports which take place on or in water





Hello Ravideep,

Thanks for your comment. We're currently in the process of revising and updating our Magazine section. We'll be adding PDFs at some point as a part of this process. We will do this as soon as we can but I'm afraid it will likely take some time for us to do this.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk. Looking forward to the updated resources.

Hi, I would like to ask about the word "noise", can I change it into "sound". For example "Imagine a beach, a quite place, with only the sound of the sea and the gulls in the background"??

And also when we should write "noise" (without "s") and noises??

Thank you

Hi sisca,

This really depends on the context. In your example it is perfectly fine to replace 'sound' with 'noise'. You could use either the singular (the sound/the noise) or plural (the sounds/the noises), whether the singular describes the combined noise of the sea and the gulls and the plural describes two separate sounds.

In some contexts 'sound' and 'noise' are not synonyms. For example, when 'noise' is used as an uncountable noun: You're making too much noise! Be quiet!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

This was my first reading test here and I had no difficulties to read. I'm trying to improve my vocabulary and writing. If I write something wrong, I'll be happy with a feedback.
About the theme of the text, I live in Brazil and here we have many options of pacefull beaches, but I don't have a favorite one.

Hello everyone,
Wow, firstly this history. I could listen perfectly the pronounce. A good history and easy to understand.
Secondly, Is my firt time here. Sorry my poor english, Please, have paciente with me.
Thanks a lot.

I think this article is interesting and exciting because now I want to find a place like this, it is difficult to find a place where you can get you peaceful and relax like this beach. I feel good for him because it is not easy to find a place like this; now the beaches in a lot of country are dirty and with much noise.

Hi everyone, i'm trying to be better in speaking english by joinjng britishcouncil. I listened to english podcast a lot and now my learning skill is quite good but speaking still so bad, everyone here please could you advise me an effective ways how to speak english fluently? (no need to like a native speaker). Thank very much

Hi bosstrung,

Have you had a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page? You can find our advice there on many topics, including how to improve your speaking and fluency.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone
I'm very glad to join this valuable English training forum and also appreciate the British council team.And we really learnt a lot from this reading section. Thanks for your commitment support for us in order to improve our competence and proficiency in English language.