Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Childlike Wanderings

When we ran the Ferry Stores and had a young daughter living with us, this was one of our favourite places after work ended for the day, the beach just to the east of the shop which runs from the road to the mouth of the Millburn.  The company of a child gave one the excuse to beachcomb, and this was always....

....a great place to find things washed in by the sea, some of which are rather unusual, like this, the egg case of the dog whelk.  It seemed quite natural to be with a child wandering around collecting things.  It brought back memories of my own happy wanderings as a child.  Then I grew up and felt that, as an adult, I should have more serious things to do - but today, being old and caring less about what other people think, I soon found myself moving from place to place picking up shells, some common, some more unusual....

....and laying them out.  People passed in their cars, slowed, probably saw who it was, shook their heads, and accelerated away about their business.  Limpet, cockle, pecten, razor shell, mussel, top, whelk..... more and more beautiful things to be picked up, arranged, admired, photographed, and then sorted so....

....the best could be pictured together, particularly the big scallop and the unusually large and pearly top.  This is a good beach for scallops, about the only one on West Ardnamurchan where they can be found in any numbers: at one time we used to collect them for use as ash trays.

Part of the fun of wandering a beach like this, which is also rich in the remains of human habitation, is the odd things one finds, like this fragment of a bed pan.  Since occupation of the area behind the beach, part of Ormsaigmore, goes back some 6,000 years to the neolithic, there's always the faint chance one might stumble across something really interesting.

Not that this morning's beachcombing didn't turn up some very puzzling things, like the lower leg of a lamb and, no distance away, the similar lower leg of a pig.  At that point I left, fearing perhaps I might find something even more gruesome.

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