After an afternoon recording litter on Ullapool’s North East Beach I am now sat in my van with my faithful companion Cal, previewing a presentation of my years littoral journey which I’m projecting onto the rocking van walls – as gale force winds continue to blow onshore. The driving rain and the crashing waves hitting the Port A Bhaigh beach a few hundred metres away, are providing a dramatic additional sound track to the sequence of images I’m reviewing .
I hadn’t planned tonight’s preview but it feels serendipitous, as the Port A Bhaigh beach is where my story began in 2012 and where on a much calmer day in May this year I and many volunteers spent the afternoon filling over tens of bags of rubbish. Thankfully the beach survey today in Ullapool recorded far less litter and our band of ten volunteers were glad only to be needing to fill 9 bags of litter as the persistent south westerly showers hurled themselves at us throughout the afternoon.
This is the 2nd Beachwatch survey we have carried out , the information we are collecting is going off to the Marine Conservation Society to add to the all important knowledge bank of what’s happening where .
Our hope is that next year Ullapool will be able to undertake the survey in the same week as the national & international Beach Watch event which takes place in September. So please come along next autumn, even in the wild weather we all had a good afternoon and made new friends keen on looking after our environment. Many thanks to Tom , Debbie, Sara, Lesley, John, Ron, Rowen, Ellen & Maria for coming along.
My presentation of littoral event images over the past year will be taking place on Monday night at Ullapool Museum 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome , your feedback will be much appreciated. Thanks to Black Reiver Consultancy for the loan of the pocket projector.
Dramatic arrival back in Ross-shire – as the tail end of hurricane Gonzalo hits the coast, I am sat editing my presentation and making notes for funding applications in my ‘office’ which is being rocked by the Westerly winds which are beginning to hit the coastline, it’s a great reminder as to the power of nature and the need to find shelter soon. Certainly tonight I will be looking for a much quieter location to park.
Along the beach two people are braving the storm busily collecting many bags of seaweed, brave souls and they remind me that on Saturday the SYHA & I have planned Ullapool’s 2nd official beach survey & clean. It would be great if the weather calmed and the sun burst through to encourage people to join us below Pollan Park in Ullapool at 2pm, strong shoes and warm weatherproof clothing essential.
The information we gather will be passed onto the Marine Conservation Society national beach watch statistics to enable comparisons to be made between various locations along the coast and between years. Last year over 800 pieces of litter were collected including 45 carrier bags, 85 pieces of fishing line & net , our 8 sacks of litter weighed over 35kg collected from just 100m of beach. In theory as the beach was cleaned comprehensively last year, there should be much less litter to record this year, either way there will be a warm welcome and refreshments at the SYHA after the event .
It will be interesting next year to see if there has been any reduction in the number of plastic carrier bags we find along Ullapool beaches after the introduction today of the mandatory charge on one time use bags. On this morning’s 200m standline walk I counted 9 bags.
As my Littoral Art Project and I have now completed a years work investigating beach litter I am busy editing through the hundreds of images taken while carrying out the many events along the Ross-shire coast. My aim is to put together a thought provoking visual presentation of the ‘story so far’ , the 30 minute show will include highlights such as :
The background to how the Future Fossil Collection was created
Young peoples discovery that a plastic bottle might be around longer than them
The curious appearance of oranges on local beaches
Tales from Ullapool High School’s Beach CSI Team
Her stay as Artist in Residence on Isle Martin & developed her rowing career
Her collection of not fantastic plastic
The achievement of two skiff teams on World Environment Day
Her continued close relationship with Scotland’s’ Waste Transfer Stations
Ullapool Museum & I hope that supporters of the project will be able to join us on either Monday 27th at 7.30pm or Wednesday the 29th at 11.30am to enjoy the visual presentation of the Littoral Arts/Science Project which led to the creation of the Museum’s recent exhibition Future Fossil Collection. The events are free and refreshments will be served.
My intention is to continue to create artworks & events on our beaches with the aim of encouraging people to take greater care of our coastal and marine environments.
With this in mind the Ullapool SYHA and I are planning the second annual beach clean of the Ullapool beach below An Pollan Park on Saturday the 25th October. Please join uson the beach at 1.30 pm