Thoughts on Stromness beach, Orkney.

Where the sea meets the land at Stromness, opposite The Old Man of Hoy, rocks of a multitude of brown shades dip drunkenly into the sea. Flat layered slabs rest one upon the other forming groynes like tongues stretching out to drink. These are ancient geological groynes, not man made. No candy floss, ice creams or deckchairs on these beaches. The groynes are reminiscent of slated roofs where each winter the frost cracks the stone open so chips are released and come away. 

Stromness beach.

The job of the sea is to pound these splintered offcuts into shards. In the passage of time these chipped shards scatter like patchwork pebbles on other more southern beaches, but always sharp, never rounded. There is a rusty orange hue to the rocks as if metal has coursed through the outcrop. Some areas are brighter, while others are paler coming from a greyer base. Each individual piece is smooth to the touch, but has angular edges that are as sharp as any cutting stone. Reminiscent of pre-historic arrowheads the beach is scattered with these natural weapons. There is a timelessness in this place of colour, beauty, and peace.

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