Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Sea shells on a Summer shore
From the north tip of Isle Ristol I paddled eastward and squeezed through a narrow gap to find the stand-out feature of the island......
This glorious white shell sand beach. Facing the mainland, in full view yet quite inaccessible without a suitable boat, it's a lovely spot. The sun was picking out the aquamarine colours of the bay and reflecting dazzlingly off the sand.
The top of the beach is fine sand but down near the tideline the building blocks become plain; shells being broken and worn by the action of the waves.
The shells of Whelks, Limpets and Razor Clams (known as "Spoots") were all easily identifiable together with many other types. I wonder how far some of these shells have been transported to end up on the beaches of Assynt and the Summer Isles?
Above the beach is an area of "machair" raised above the sand by a few metres. This grassland and the animals and plants which it supports are among the main reasons that Isle Ristol is a nature reserve. Slightly apart from the main group of Summer Isles (the name refers to the practice of using the islands for summer grazing) Ristol seems more fertile and altogether less rocky.
I sat, then lay in the grass dozing in the sun in this glorious spot.
It would have been easy to fall asleep in the sun with the buzzing of insects and the songs of Skylarks the predominant sounds. I remembered though that the tide was on the flood and my boat wasn't too far from the water. Also, it seemed I wasn't the only paddler to see the beauty of the place....