Saturday 10 July 2010

Rock Pool World (1): Glen Brittle Beach, Skye

Glen Brittle Beach,
Isle of Skye,

... where the sand is black but the rock pool creatures are red.

Beadlet Anemones
showing off their bright red tentacles

The wild and windswept beach at the head of Loch Brittle has very dark sand. You might think that there had been an oil spill, but the black is from the Gabbro of the Cuillin mountains. The area is sparsely populated, though it boasts a camp site and a Youth Hostel.

I found it fascinating to walk along the black beach, looking for signs of colour. As you will see, I was richly rewarded. I have had a lifelong love of the yellow Common Flat Periwinkle (Littorina obtusata) shell from beaches around the Lizard in Cornwall, but this red one was a first for me. Periwinkles have been a part of Scottish life for thousands of years, and have turned up on middens dating from as early as 7500 BC. Wow!

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