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Distressing shores

I made this piece a while ago whilst battling the wind to pull open a dog poo bag and hold onto it before it was whipped out of my hand. It struck me as funny that I was going to so much effort when all around me the beach was littered with a colourful selection of rubbish amongst the seaweed.

Litter on the shore is not just a Shetland thing, it is sadly everywhere in lesser or greater degrees on every shore in the world from single use food and drink bottles, to the ubiquitous single yellow welly and flip flop to tiny specks of car tyres.

Life on Shetland means you spend a lot of time at it's beautiful edges its doorsteps immediately adjacent to the shore. So noticing this rubbish is unavoidable and feeling distressed by it is unavoidable too.

This year because of Covid, the yearly beach clean up in May organised by Shetland Amenity Trust and an army of volunteers did not happen, but there are still lots of folk who take a bag full of rubbish home from every trip to the beach.

If I find an empty bag on a walk, I take that as a sign that I should fill it with whatever I can fit in it.

Sometimes, the task feels overwhelming and it is easy to feel that every interaction with the outdoors is a reminder of the damage we do to our environments and the creatures we share it with.



Sometimes though, you are delighted to discover that a beach that is usually struggling under a cover of rubbish, washed in from all parts of the world in stormy seas has been suddenly and miraculously cleared by unseen workers.

It is a joyful discovery.

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