The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Kinshaldy Beach

Around 24 years ago, Maggie and I made our first visit to Kinshaldy Beach, on the Fife coast, not far from St Andrews. We parked in the woods, made our way across the sand dunes and emerged onto the long, straight, sandy beach.

Gazing out to sea the next stop is Denmark, so the sense of openness is huge. An expanse of sand, sea and sky that reminds us we are much smaller and more insignificant than we think.

That first time we visited, there were thousands of sea urchin shells all along the beach. We collected several, but were not particularly careful with them and they didn't survive the journey. When we got home all we discovered were pockets full of shell fragments.

We weren't overly worried though - as there had been so many on the beach we knew there would be plenty more next time we returned.

However, on the numerous occasions over the past 2 decades we have been back to Kindshaldy Beach, we have never seen another urchin shell. I doubt we will ever know why there were so many thousands all along the beach that day, but it turned out to be an extremely rare and unusual occurrence.

Last week, Maggie and I had the opportunity to spend a couple of nights away on our own, and ended up in a small cottage in Fife. The first evening was dry and sunny, so we made our way out to Kinshaldy for a stroll along the beach.

And for the first time in two dozen years, we found a lone sea urchin shell. Very aware of the fragility, we were far more careful about how we handled it, and this one did survive the journey


Eryl said...

Dave's taking me to that part of Fife for my birthday weekend (this Friday to Monday), so this is timely. I'll look for sea urchins, and try not to get too upset that my photographs don't turn out like yours.

Kim Ayres said...

Eryl - I was lucky with the light - the sun almost setting is perfect for that golden glow and long shadows - I've captured nothing you couldn't :)

Hope you enjoy your time there!

Pat said...

Beautiful vistas. Perfect!
I'm sailing round Britain this month but my new atlas tells me we don't come anywhere near you. It would have been nice to sample your hot chocolate caff.
I shall wave.

Ponita in Real Life said...

I live very far (about 2500 km in either direction) from any ocean but have been to the Pacific numerous times. I found a dead puffer fish one time. Did not keep it, smelly thing that it is. And how would one take that home in one's luggage? Yuck!

Love the shadow shot. Gorgeous composition. And it is too bad the sea urchin shells don't retain the spines in all their prickly glory.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - let me know when you're heading up the Irish Sea and I'll wave back :)

Ponita - 2,500km from the sea!!! I think I would shrivel up and die. One of the reasons we moved here 11 years ago was to be closer to the sea. I'm now only about 15 minutes drive away. Previously it was nearly 2 hours and that was way too far...

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