Monday, July 20, 2015

Kayaks on the beach...the dance-music of the tide, grains of sand, and stars in the sky.

"In every out thrust headland, 
in every curving beach, in every grain of sand...
there is the story of the earth."  
- Rachel Carson

Beaches are places of respite and refreshment, exploration and discovery. They are evidence of how the oceans transfer their dynamic energy to the land, shaping and softening our coastlines. Headlands, composed of rock more resistant to erosion, patiently await their eventual turn. A handful of sand, composed of rock fragments, minerals, and biological precipitates (remains of dead critters), tells a wonderful story of the earth throughout a variety of timescales. 

Continuing our paddle from Cullen, the home of "Cullen skink", a delicious soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions, we were drawn to this isolated and completely unpopulated beach. 

Beaches feel primordial here...and they are one of Scotland's best kept secrets.

Beaches are vast, "groomed" only by the rawness of nature. They offer a delicious sense of aloneness. They are a place to think, to ponder, to meditate, to contemplate...and to simply be. They are an immense amphitheatre in which one can listen to what poet Rabindranath Tagore described as the "dance-music of the tide." A trickling stream contributed a magical layer of harmony. 

It's music that soothes the body, mind, and spirit.

The waist-deep grasslands, beyond the sand, beg exploration...

...and reveal glorious textures and colours. The heather was simply radiant.

Others have been here, enjoyed this special place, and have created cairns and markers...they must surely be a labour of love. I too, made a small contribution.

Beaches are a great place for lunch...the strawberries for dessert rather nicely matched my Valley Étaín 17.5. :)

As we sat listening to the gentle dance-music of the tides, the waves, the wind, the rustling grass, and the marine birds...I wondered how many grains of sand composed this vast beach? What if I was ever tasked to count them?! The thought was overwhelming. 

And then I realised that there are infinitely more galaxies in the skies up above, than there are grains of sand as far as our eyes could see.

Just as every star shines brightly in the heavens, every grain is an essential part of the beach. It would become less than whole, if even one were missing.

Clearly, every person, and all life everywhere is of immense value. We are all an essential part of the tiny and insignificant as we sometimes feel our lives are.

Rested, nourished, and sustained, it was time to launch and continue down the North Sea coast of the Moray Firth.

Paddling out from the shore, I wondered, "How many drops of water there are in the ocean?"

Ah but soon there would be some VERY interesting distractions from these "deep" questions. ;)


  1. The beautiful beaches of Scotland seem to be a secret even from the Scots....I've never seen such empty shores before. Finally a picture of the colourful...I bet the hillsides look amazing in all of their purple glory. L.

    1. Hi L, yes, the hills and glens are alive with colour, especially towards the end of summer and in the fall. We're always surprised that there aren't more folks on beaches like this one. It was mid-week, however, and there is a trail but it might have been a 30 minute walk or so from the car park. It was truly lovely. There are many other beaches of course, that are more accessible, that attract lots and lots of folks. Many thanks for your comment and warm wishes. Duncan.

  2. Just caught up with your latest two blogs and enjoyed both very much. Good to see that you are still "pushing the boat out" when it comes to giving Joan a slap up meal on a remote beach. Yes you can take the Canadian out of Glasgow but you can't take Glasgow out of the Canadian!!.
    Good to see that you are both getting time out to paddle.

    1. Haha! Thanks Mike. It was, indeed, another "gourmet-prepared" meal at a extraordinary waterfront location. After 42 years, Joan has come to expect, well, whatever I can manage with a minimum of ingredients - and a minimum of culinary skills. ;) Yep, I belong to Glasgow, just like my dad. No doubt, eh? :) Warm wishes and see you soon.

  3. I like the imagery of a "dance music of the tides" Duncan..... most usually a stately Waltz, except fpr some of the narrow places on the west and north coasts where that dance is most definitely a frenetic Strip The Willow!

    Warm wishes

  4. Well said, Ian. And then there are the occasional times when rock hopping becomes a little like break dancing...and you bounce off the "wall" a little more than planned! :) Warm wishes. Duncan.