One of the things that I love to do most is to beach comb. In a way it's an excuse to spend ages on a beach instead of just walking up and down it and getting some bracing exercise. To me, beach combing means to wander aimlessly along a beach just taking in all the details, scanning the ground as well as staring at the sea and the mountains, wondering what little item of interest we will come across.
Here is some lichen that we spotted while staring at the rocks, fascinated by all the different textures and colours. This bit of lichen is only about 1cm across in reality.
On the beach of Ross just outside Killala in Co. Mayo it didn't look very promising for our beach combing attempts. The weather was just beginning to break after the wonderful spell of weather we had over April. This picture was taken as we huddled in a little scooped out bit in the cliff. If you look closely you can see the rain pelting down!
But it cleared quickly and we were back out rambling along enjoying the wind and spectacular view.
The first thing we found was this box. It's a styrofoam fish box that was obviously washed off a boat some time ago. It's amazing the amount of stuff that gets washed in from fishing boats. I decided that I could use this as buoyancy for our boat. We've been collecting this stuff up and putting it into a net and tying it to the inside of the boat in case we happened to capsize one day. If we put enough buoyancy into it it will not sink no matter what way it goes over.
It came in useful on the beach as well, because as it was a really windy day I discovered I could huddle behind the box for shelter!
And as the sand was wet it came in very handy as an insulated seat......
.....for two, from which we could relax and day dream.
While sitting on our seat we spotted this little skeleton left behind by the tide.
We came across three lobster pots that had been washed up on the rocks. We thought we could make this into a little cold frame for next season if we took off the net and replaced it with some plastic. Chris is taking out the remains of the fish head that was used as bait for the lobster. It was extremely heavy so we only managed to get one back.
This also made a comfy, dry seat.
There is always loads of rope washed up on beaches but we have already taken back plenty of all different sizes so we left this huge ball of rope and net behind. It is tempting to keep bringing everything home but our garage is already at bursting point. We gradually use up all the stuff we find but we have to be careful to collect things that we can think of a concrete use for.
The great thing about beach combing is that it helps to clean up the beach a little as well as giving us a chance to give new life to all different types of things. We've brought back wood, fish boxes, rope, nets, floats, mesh, a frisbee, water containers, pipes, seaweed and more, most of which has found a use in our garden or on the boat.
We spent about 4 hours on the beach getting buffeted by the wind, warmed by the sun, cooled again when paddling in the Atlantic water, staring at the life in the rock pools, on the rocks, in the sand and in the air. We picked up a couple of things that will be really useful and we got our bracing exercise in the end. Wonderful.