It’s always worth having a poke around the shore at low tide. In among the water-rounded beach cobbles, seaweed and limpet shells, more exotic items sometimes turn up, offering tantalising glimpses of other times, and other places.
Beachcombing is a fine tradition across Orkney.
Here in Stromness, lucky beachcombers sometimes find iridescent labradorite sparkling on the shore. From eastern Canada, it was used as ballast to weigh down the Moravian Mission ships which left from London, via Stromness nearly every year between 1770 and 1926. On the west coast, molucca beans and coconuts from the West Indies sometimes appear on the beach, along with wood from giant, foreign trees.
And on this edge of Scapa Flow, pottery with German markings still sometimes washes up, a reminder of Orkney’s wartime past and the wrecks which lie under the water. Many of these can be seen in Stromness Museum, a few piers down the street.
Nowadays though, the most common material on Orkney’s beaches is plastic. And this morning, there’s just a few bits of rusting metal, the odd bit of modern pottery and bottle glass, a dump of scallop shells and next door’s cat.
Sunrise 04.56 Moonrise 08.21
Sunset 21.22 Moonset 01.00
High tide 00.07 (3.59m) Low tide 06.17 (0.45m)
High tide 12.41 (3.47m) Low tide 18.34 (0.82m)