Coastal Views - Part 1


One of the great things about the bays as beaches of the West Coast are that they are often visible before arriving. This is especially visually pleasing if the road approaching is raised above the bay thanks to the natural undulations of the coastline. 

The beaches and bays are dotted intermittently, without much distance between, along the coastline and of varying visible length, depending on whether it is high or low tide. 

Although there were some little bays before this, this was the first beach we stopped at. The earlier ones had caravan sites right next to them so although perhaps accessible by the public on paper, parking on the sites themselves was obviously restricted solely to patrons of the sites so the beaches could only have been accessed by parking a couple of miles further up the road and walking back along the narrow country road. Instead of that, I went for the easier option of going to a beach which was more straightforward to access! 

Here is a picture of this first bay I stopped at. It was empty and peaceful, just as I like it. The tide was completely out allowing for many skerries and rocks to be seen, uncovered by water. 

Although uncovered by water, these rocks and skerries were full of evidence of their typical marine surroundings. Strewn with seaweed and covered in molluscs, mussels, and other shellfish who make the surface of them their home. The area provided great examples of coastal ecology like this. I don't think I have ever before seen a beach with so many shells on it and due to the temporary nature of the tide being so extremely far out, many of these shells were still inhabited by the shellfish. 
The picture above gives an idea of how much of the rocks' surfaces are covered by seaweed and organisms. They are quite the micro-ecosystem! It also shows wonderful Small Isles on the not-so-very distant horizon. Rhum and Eigg are the two visible Islands in this photograph. If you are wondering how to pronounce the names just think of the drink 'rum' and the food 'egg' as that is how they each sound. It's funny how us Scots gave Islands 'food' sounding names. We must really like our food. (I did in fact eat an egg sandwich while looking out to Eigg but certainly wasn't drinking so had water rather than rum!) 

Anyway, back to the scenery. The contrast between the shape of the vertical plane of the Islands (Rhum on the left, and Eigg on the right) is very noticeable and enticing artistically. I composed the above photo using the rocks to provide 'natural framing' and the scene provides the inspiration for a watercolour painting. The below collage of photos shows you some of the stages of painting and gives an insight into my creative process. 

And here are two little sketches I did of the views from the car when it was too cold to sketch outside:
The view in one direction... 
...and the other 

It may have been sunny but you could definitely feel the coolness of the October climate. The warmth did appear later though which allowed for sketching where I like it most, outside and fully immersed in nature. 

I'll continue my journey along the coast in part 2.

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