Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Ormsaigbeg Beach

We love wandering along the Ormsaigbeg shore. It's a rather grey beach, particularly in the present weather, it's pebbly, and so doesn't have any of the glamour of Sanna, and it often has rubbish washed up along it, like the large lump of polystyrene visible in this shot, but, in its own unpretentious way, it's a lovely beach and has just about everything a connoisseur of beaches could want.

It has sandy bits - several, in fact - but they're all rather small and, to suit everything else, grey, although one of them, only visible at very low spring tides, is slightly whitish. They aren't the sort of sandy beach where you would put out your deckchairs and have the children make sandcastles, but that's for ordinary beaches, like Sanna.

It has wildlife. This morning's is a bit of a distant shot, but the daily parade of sea eagles continues. I don't think we've ever seen a sea eagle at Sanna, though we did once see a hen harrier which was flying rapidly in the direction of Achnaha.

It has deadlife too. Today's example was an old ewe washed up along the high-tide mark, wrapped in a shroud of kelp. She might have been washed in from somewhere else but....

....the local sheep do enjoy a bit of seaweed as a side salad, and are often to be found wandering the beach, so perhaps the dead one was a local who'd had her time.

The Ormsaigbeg beach is also a working beach. At this time of year, when the price of wilks (winkles to the English, whelks in other places, the common periwinkle Littorina littorea) is high - presumably because our European friends like a bit of seafood with their Christmas dinner - some of the crofters are....

....out amongst the weed as the tide goes out. It's miserable, back-breaking work, cold, often wet, and dangerous as the rocks are horribly slippery. Nan was out yesterday and today, alone, but she has the company of her patient border collie and, she assures me, always carries a mobile phone, just in case.


  1. A beach for *connoisseurs* - with that word you make me want to be more of one! I've never heard of a sea eagle, and I think it would be quite a surprise to see a large animal washed up dead on a beach. Around here we get an occasional sea lion, but usually alive.

  2. Is that a goldie, Jon? Its wings look too narrow to be a sea eagle.
    Does lamb fed on seaweed supplement taste different to grass grazed?

  3. Beaches, like anything else, have their own character, GretchenJoanna. Some are much more interesting than others. And sea eagles are very like the American bald eagle.

    Definitely a sea eagle, Derryck - it had a white tail. And, yes, I'm sure that seaweed-fed sheep have a very special taste; that's why Hughie is thinking of feeding his pigs seaweed. Jon