It is a day to snuggle inside, as the laden skies continue to spill endless drifts of snow across the country. They tell us it is a “Red Alert”, the first one ever in this area apparently. This is something new to me, this system of weather warnings. Schools are closed, people are advised not to travel, and nor even to venture outdoors. The snow is way over the tops of my little boots, and the shapes of the steps in the garden have disappeared.
This first Scottish winter has been a long one, with many magical wintry Scottish landscapes and scenes. My train journey down from Inverness at the start of the year felt like a trip through Narnia with the snowscapes and wintry lighting.
During my break in the north, I visited a number of places new to me. On the second day of the New Year, my friend suggested a drive to Findhorn Beach. “It’s a pebbly beach“, she told us.
I had no particular expectations, other than an unremarkable pebbly beach. When we arrived, we stepped into a bracing sea breeze and a very high tide. There was very little beach. But there was a fascinating sound. I am sure those pebbles have a life of their own. As the sea rolled in, it would push the pebbles together, and when the seawater withdrew those little stones made the most unusual sound. They appeared to chuckle and chatter as they were shaken around in the waves. The sound and motion were mesmerising. I am surprised I had the presence of mind to preserve some moments in this here and here.
I have no idea how long I stood at the shore, listening and watching. Those little pebbles chittered and chattered, muttering and chuckling with each tickling of the seawater.
This walk along the beach proved to be incredibly grounding and cleansing, with its combination of the pristine little stones underfoot, the fresh breeze, pastel beach huts and the gentle winter sunlight.
A day very different to this one, yet equally Scottish in nature. As the evening settles here, the snow flurries thicken yet again in hypnotic, swirling patterns over deserted roads and streets. It will be an early night to bed, with a book and listening to the memories replaying in my mind, of those chuckling pebbles on Findhorn Beach.