Day 9 Killegruer - Danger Zones; the future of our beaches?

The remains of a lobster trap we found partially buried with only the sharp pointed ends exposed - this could have resulted in a nasty injury if stood on.

The remains of a lobster trap we found partially buried with only the sharp pointed ends exposed - this could have resulted in a nasty injury if stood on.

Friday 14th April 2017

Just past 9 pm, we arrived at The Hotel Argyll, Bellochantuy (pronunciation nightmare!) about halfway down the western coast of the Kintyre peninsula after an epic 8-hour drive.  Lucy (Ellie’s 4x4) and Ellie did an amazing job in covering the 700 miles, experiencing everything from the twisting roads of the Lake District, motorways, city traffic through Glasgow, spectacular drive through Lochs, forests and over mountains!

We even got a salute from the RAF!

Three Tornado  Fighters-Bombers buzzed us on the motorway at just 200ft!  We were listening to some tunes on BBC Radio 1 approaching Glasgow from the South, when a thunderous roar overtook.  Shocked, we had thought there was a crash behind us and that we were going to be hit from behind.  Other motorists slowed down and it was lucky Ellie still had her wits about her to slow down avoiding a collision, at that point she had driven nearly 6hrs non-stop!  We're at a loss as to why the jets were allowed to fly over a motorway at such low altitude as it could so easily cause a crash; it only takes 1 or 2second distraction to cause a crash at 70mph!

We awoke to a windy and dreary Friday morning blanketed with a heavy grey sky. The beach at Killegruer campsite at the other end of the bay didn’t offer any respite from the wind or the drizzle which had now decided to now add itself to joyus scene.

For a moment the Leden skies lifted and hope of better weather drifted in from the west - needless to say this was short lived!

For a moment the Leden skies lifted and hope of better weather drifted in from the west - needless to say this was short lived!

The leaden clouds, blowing in on a strengthening breeze were laden with a cold drizzle, all conspiring to produce some challenging conditions for drone flight. The difficulty was compounded by our survey drone having an issue with its Gimbal or IMU - instruments that help balance flight.   Ellie managed to compensate for some decent survey images but with a lot of difficulty.  It will need to have a full service when we finish the current phase, in the mean time a cold calibration seems to be managing okay.

During the beach clean we found two concentrations of litter; one on the cliff in front of the campsite amongst sea defences which act as a trap, the second about 300m south at a point where a medium sized stream enters the sea. Otherwise, there were many sweet wrappers with little sign of weathering by salt water or rain, suggesting they’d been recently deposited - most likely by callous beach goers.

Ellie found the weirdest item to date - a solar powered mushroom!  We’re both at a loss to describe what it might be used for as there was no obvious light.

And the most interesting - a bottle of “Parazone” bleach that looked distinctly 1950 in design. The bottle of Parazone included instructions on the back that read:

“ANTIDOTE

If swallowed drink

plenty of water”

How old is this Parazol bottle? 

How old is this Parazol bottle? 

If recognise the bottle please contact us and let us know!

Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the fish that will end up ingesting the tiny plastic fragments from these containers.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

We also found an alarming amount of metal frames and rods on the surface and embedded in the sand, easily hazards for marine life, humans and dogs. With such dangerous items washing up on our beaches; how soon before beaches become hazardous zones of marine litter?  And whose responsibility is it to clean?  Furtherstill, who pays for it?

This nasty piece of kit we found half buried, it looks more like a bear trap than a lobster trap!

This nasty piece of kit we found half buried, it looks more like a bear trap than a lobster trap!

We are facing a world where beaches are becoming major health hazards, and will become ‘no-go’ zones just like landfill areas or construction sites. It is a sad thought that our beautiful beaches - particularly here in the UK where our beaches are truly unique and provide a welcome respite from the cities - may well become abandoned as too dangerous for the children we so desperately need to connect with them.  Indeed, this is already the case in many parts of the world today.

These are all questions that we will eventually need to find an answer to and the longer we wait the harder the solution will be.

In summary

190 items, weighing in at 17kg, and breaking down as such;

Giant piece of netting, both Ellie and Pete could not move together.  Unfortunately we had to leave it on the beach.

Giant piece of netting, both Ellie and Pete could not move together.  Unfortunately we had to leave it on the beach.

Of the 100 metres of beach;

  1. Plastic ropes & netting - 84
  2. Plastic Fragments - 53
  3. Sweet/Food wrapping - 24
  4. Plastic Bottles - 8
  5. Other Containers - 6
  6. Bottle Caps - 4
  7. Plastic Bags - 4
  8. Balloons - 3
  9. Rubber items 2, Straws 2, Food Containers 2, Cups 1, Foam 1, Floats 1, Sanitary products 1.

Equating to 44% Plastic Rope and Netting, 27% Plastic Fragments, 13% Sweet/Food wrapping.  These major items took 84% of the haul for the day.

This is a fairly typical breakdown of beach litter, although from what we understand, in the summer the % of sweet/food wrappers increases to be the dominant proportion from our local sources.

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