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Beach art

July 18, 2014

There is always something new to be seen on my twice daily walks on the beach with Snuffy.

Beach art is a bit contentious. On the one hand leaving a mark on the beach gives many folk pleasure or is significant to them. On the other, people visit places like the North End of Iona for its pristine and unspoiled beaches. Some visitors take the ‘leave only your footprint’ approach and only use materials that will be swept away by the next tide. Others have more monumental ambitions. As steward of Traigh an-t Suidhe (the strand of the seat) I tend to remove these offerings after a few days -particularly if stones are involved. It’s astonishing -little stone cairns seem to breed like rabbits. However, some art, if I think it is particularly special, I’ll leave alone. As in any cultural landscape, the beach is what we choose it to be. I tend towards maintaining it in as natural and as pristine a way as possible as I think that that is what most people appreciate. It also reflects my lifelong resistance to signage and intervention in relatively natural places.

Being Iona, most offerings are of the celtic doodle variety, with a smattering of names, labyrinths and such like. The most unusual, in March this year, was a 3 metre phallus, painstakingly picked out in small pebbles. It must have taken hours. A conversation piece, certainly…

I’m writing about this now because there are presently two sculptures on the beach that I love. The photo’s tell it all.

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These are others that I liked from over the past couple of years. The last photo is of a giant bear which took about six weeks to erode and vanish. I ended up feeling very protective towards it and was sad to see it go!

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