Saturday, April 05, 2014

Geo-diversity, balloons, and brussels sprouts...

The richly red sands of Carlingeugh Bay.
Now that British Summer Time (BST) has arrived - not, by the way, to be confused with "summer" :) a few spare hours in the late afternoon are sufficient to get out to Arbroath, for some time on the edge of the North Sea. From there, one can hike along the Geodiversity Trail to the delightful little village of Auchmithie and be back before dark. All along the way, there are dramatic cliffs, blowholes, sea stacks, caves, arches, needles, all shaped by the sea. 

The Needle E'e.
These red sandstones and rocks used to "live" south of the equator, albeit around 400 million years ago. That was before this country "migrated" north to its present location, through unimaginable geological time. It was this ancient sandstone that was used to build Arbroath Abbey, where the Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish independence) was signed on April 6th, 1320. So if you see some tartan around tomorrow, "Tartan Day", that may be folks celebrating a most significant event in this country's history.

Every now and again, a steep descent to the beach provides a sea-level perspective on the fascinating geology and natural history of the area...

...and sometimes some rather "unnatural" flotsam that finds itself washed up on shore.

An arrival by air and sea?
The string of orange and green balloons came from a restaurant chain that was clearly making a big "deal" about the £9.99 Meal Deal: A selected main, unlimited salad, Sundae Best, and a drink. Sounded pretty good but unfortunately the "advertising" got away - and ended up on a pristine beach. (Well, there was some other flotsam and jetsam but this was the worst offender.) We tried to determine which exact restaurant had lost their "grip" on these balloons. 

An internet search indicated that the nearest possibilities were Perth, Dunfermline, and Aberdeen. Given their relative locations from this particular beach, chances are they arrived by air and sea from Aberdeen - some 40 miles away and to the north. (Locals and mariners out there, however, may have other suggestions based on a far better understanding of local winds and currents.)

A good deal for "dining"...but not for the beach.
This wasn't the only "unusual" observation we made.

Near the end of the trail at Auchmithie, we came upon a most extraordinary sight - a veritable "mountain chain" of Brussels sprouts! I love Brussels sprouts...steamed just until al dente, generously covered with fresh lemon juice, and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, mmm!

Talk about feeling like a 64-year-old "kid in a candy store"!

They were, however, on the other side of the farmer's fence.

Way more than a lifetime's supply of Brussels sprouts!
And they had been through the Scottish winter, so probably past their mouth watered, nonetheless.

Many seem to have survived winter.
Putting aside all temptation to climb the fence - and risking the possibility of a local clergyman's picture ending up on the front page of the local paper, in serious trouble for "snitching" Brussels sprouts - we retraced our steps along the top of the sandstone cliffs, thereby taking the "high road" away from temptation. (Joan did give assurances that we would stop at the Tesco supermarket for - you guessed it - a bag of these highly nutritious "gems"!

And a "high road" it is, along this superb trail.

Life is full of diversity, some of which offers wholeness and health (like Brussels sprouts), and some  of which jeopardises the wholeness and health of the life-sustaining biosphere, like a getaway string of balloons. Increasing the former while reducing the latter will surely ensure this fragile, island planet remains the "gem" in space that it is.

It's surely worth our every effort.

And now, to tuck into those sprouts! :)


  1. Looks like a great place to walk....glad to see you were able to get out for a break from the ministry life.

  2. Hi Duncan and Joan, the rock formations there are as dramatic as the "formations" here in the "high" country. An amazing place this planet, eh? We find stuff, even in the back country. It doesn't "getaway" though - it gets dropped!! We pack it out - can't ever stop caring. Duncan really found the piles of sprouts appetizing?! :>) Gen.

  3. Lovely posting and pictures, complete with balloons and brussel sprouts. Like you the sprouts had my mouth tingling. I simply love them. Hope you enjoyed your dinner. J.

  4. Hi L, and here I thought I would get a "reaction" from you - about the Brussels sprouts! Prepare yourself. Bet you can't wait! ;)

    Hi Gen, good for you guys. We thought about packing the balloons out...and probably should have. There's just so much of this stuff in the oceans and it's not good. Appreciate your comment. Best wishes, Duncan.

    Hi J, thanks for that. You're making me hungry again! I think it's the fresh lemon juice and sprinkled cheese that makes them such a " delicacy". Haha! Some folks mileage might differ? ;) Duncan.

  5. D,
    Well my reaction was ....what a waste that could feed many hungry people but maybe they will still use them and maybe their government takes better care of their people than ours over here does?
    And you know darn well I don't like those little things so you can enjoy my portion...I'll share ;) I'll just stick to chips n beer!

  6. I'm absolutely positive they won't be wasted, L. They are most likely piled there to be used or processed as feed. Hey, don't be so hard on sprouts - they help you run faster and further - every "clinical" study shows that. ;) OK, pulling your leg about that. But maybe they do? Haha! D.