When, in 1807, Alexander Lowe reported to Sir James Riddell on the potential value of each of the townships within the Ardnamurchan Estate, one of the things he commented on was the 'Sea Ware'. In the sense in which he used it, this almost certainly referred to the amount of kelp and other seaweeds that were available on the beaches, valuable in those days, amongst other things, for burning for their soda content. But 'seaware' seems also to be synonymous with flotsam, which was what we were looking for when we walked along the beach below Ormsaigbeg this morning. Sadly, this six pint milk carton was out-of-date.
Walking the beach can be great fun as much for the things that are unexpected as anything else. We have no idea of the use of this piece of electrical kit, so we didn't bother to bring it home. But what we do notice is that, while there are still some plastic bottles washed up, the amount of that sort of rubbish has dropped, in part due to recent legislation making the dumping of any litter overboard in Scottish waters illegal.
Most of the plastic has no use for us, but this traffic cone, made of heavy plastic and artistically ornamented with barnacles, was a good find and was carried home by Mrs Diary.
Another example of something unexpected is this is a wet suit, along with its hanger. One would love to know how it became separated from its owner and ended up on the Ormsaigbeg shore.
The other use for seaware back in pre-crofting days was as an excellent natural fertilizer, and long-time readers of the Diary will know that, every year, we use some to improve our vegetable beds. When we first started, we carried it up from the Ormsaigbeg beach but, being older now, we cheat by asking a crofter to bring us some using his front-loader. This he does, and he and his wife refuse payment - so here is a very public 'thank you' for their kindness.
So, after we'd enjoyed our walk, we spent the rest of the morning barrowing the weed up to our back garden. It took eight journeys, and afterwards we needed a drop of alcoholic stimulation to recover. Some of the kelp we put straight onto the beds, but this year we're going to try composting the rest for a couple of months before digging it in.