We took a short walk this morning along the beach below our house, where mounds of kelp have been washed up by the recent gales. We use kelp on our vegetable beds, with wonderful results, but it's often sold, in packaged form, as a health supplement. It's credited with amazing properties, including helping with weight loss, anti-ageing, hair growth, and as a supplement for iodine, calcium and a mass of other vitamins and minerals. The sheep that are down from the hill for tupping had obviously heard all this as they were tucking in to the feast, and one does wonder whether the local crofters shouldn't be selling their lambs at a premium as 'kelp-fed Highland lamb'.
The local variety of kelp consists of a 'root', or holdfast, by which it is attached to the rocks, a 'stalk' or stipe, and a number of fronds. This particular specimen had made the mistake of attaching itself to a rock which was far too light to hold it during the recent storms.
But a few of the kelp stipes had these bulbous, warty structures, some ten centimetres or more across, with a frond coming off the stipe at that point. They look a bit like flotation bladders, but does anyone know what they are?
At the far end of our walk we came across this small gaggle of geese, who eyed us with irritation before finally flying off to land in the water a few hundred metres away, presumably to wait for us to leave before they returned to their foraging along the shingle.
The dismal weather continues. The wind has moved into the west and continues to bring in heavy showers: last night we had a further 20mm of rain, making a 36-hour total of 47mm.