LEAVING footprints in the glistening sand, visitors to a beach could easily have been in the Caribbean.
But, in fact, it was Southsea beach after the high winds last week had blasted away the pebbles to reveal the yellow sand beneath.
As the sun shone yesterday thousands headed to the beach to make the most of the unusual phenomenon.
Lorraine Rae, husband Mick and granddaughter Mylie, made the most of the weather and walked from their home in Melville Road, Eastney.
Lorraine said: ‘I actually think the sand looks better.
‘It’s lovely for Mylie to be able to see her footprints.
I actually think the sand looks betterLorraine Rae
‘We come here a lot and it would be nice if it was always sandy.’
And Charlotte Brown’s 21-month-old daughter Xanthe also enjoyed running across the sandy area, just past the pier and opposite Canoe Lake.
Charlotte, 29, from Southsea, said: ‘The sand is much better when you have a child.
‘It’s easier for Xanthe to walk on. She loves it.
‘It’s lovely down here. We’re very lucky to live here.’
Runners taking part in the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon had a lovely view while dog walkers said their dogs had never been happier when running along the shore in Southsea.
The strong winds blew the stones and shingle away on that part of the beach two years ago to a greater extent, when hundreds of tons were swept over the sea wall as heavy seas pounded the coast.
Portsmouth City Council contractors, Colas, spent a week putting the stones back. Despite calls for the sand to remain exposed, the stones had to be put back to act as sea defences.
The phenomena is down to longshore drift.
It is a geographical process which transports the shingle down the coast at an angle to the shoreline, which is dependent on prevailing wind direction, swash and backwash.
Mounds of pebbles could be seen all along the beach.
A council spokesman said that the beach would be left, as the natural rhythm of the tides would wash many of the stones back to the shoreline, as the winter’s stormy weather is now thought to have gone, He said the beach would be monitored and that if, after a few months, the pebbles were not returning, then the council might intervene and ask Colas to once again restore the beach.
‘The stones do provide a defence element to the coast,’ he added.