Winter Seas, Winter Beaches

It is now spring. Or at least it’s supposed to be. As I type this heavy and thick snow is falling outside and settling. It’s April.

This seems like a good time to share some photos of this tenacious but soon-to-disappear season.

One of my favourite things about winter is walking along the coast. This is a favoured pastime at any point of the year, but once the storms arrive and the first grey seal pups are born, through to when the equinox has been and gone and the grass is once more growing — that is perhaps my favourite time to visit the shore.

Winter Beach, Winter Seas
Reiss Beach in Winter


There is something beautifully powerful about the muted low light up here in winter, the way colours seem ethereal and seen through a haze of cool salt-laden mist. This, coupled with the vast and awesome power of the storms, makes a walk along beside the winter sea something I always enjoy.

The following few photos have been selected from the many hundreds I have taken on this subject. When it comes to the beach, to the shoreline and strand, and to the water itself, I have almost as many photos as I do of trees. Almost.

I narrowed down this selection to only include those photos taken from November through to February, all but the sunset photo taken within Caithness. A few are similar shots from the same walk, but I simply could not choose between them. When I have shown these to people before some prefer one, others the other, I suppose it’s a matter of personal preference.

I have not even touched on the flotsam and jetsam, on the detritus thrown landward with every tide. Sometimes I find exciting things — bones, teeth, shells, driftwood, feathers, sea-glass, urchins, starfish skeletons, archaeology and other objects. Yet always these are hidden amongst the plastics and rubbish of our oilcentric society. The age of plastic will leave its mark for thousands of years to come yet, and this saddens me.


Nature will win out. She always has, always does. Long after we have gone (destroyed by our own inability to realise what is right, what is good and true?) the coast will remain. Things will change but I have hope.

(I talk a lot about this subject in the novel I’m still not-entirely-happy with. The sea is in my blood, she always calls me, and I answer).

I’m always interested to see what other people think about these posts — which photo do you prefer? Either leave a comment, or tweet me if you have time, it’s great to know other people are reading this, even better if the posts are enjoyed.

As usual, if you want to see the images at a much higher resolution, or download one, then there’s a flickr album here. (The gallery below is set up to randomly order the photos, sometimes it may be in more aesthetically pleasing combinations than others, but that’s part of the fun).


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