Category Archives: shells

The Walls of Parton

‘Are you looking for the old port?’ The man seemed to have appeared from nowhere, yet he was tall and strongly built, white hair sticking up straight, not easy to overlook. ‘Port?’ I was bemused – I’d been poking at … Continue reading

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Freshwater mussels in the West Cumbrian coalfield

The late Norman Hammond once told me that he used to go out in his boat to count the basking sharks when they came into the Solway. One time, he was motoring off Fleswick Bay near Whitehaven during a coal-miners’ … Continue reading

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‘Signor tuberculato’, PH Gosse and Charles Kingsley

Cockle shells are piled like snow-drifts amongst the trees at the top of the bay; they form banks and ridges along the shore. Balcary Bay, its entrance partly plugged by Heston Island, looks to be a tranquil and sheltered haven, … Continue reading

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Hunting for ‘guggies’, and finding ‘canoes’, on the Galloway shore

Last weekend we went to the Scottish side of the Solway Firth to hunt for a boring mollusc. Or, rather more accurately, for the empty shells of a marine snail, Natica monilifera, known variously as the Necklace Shell, the beaded … Continue reading

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Loom-stones or fishing-weights? (And the role of piddocks)

In my post on March 21st 2014 I wrote about an object I had found on the shore near Beckfoot, which one of my shore-walkers told me was a warp-weight or loom-stone; I subsequently saw similar objects used to keep … Continue reading

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Tyrean Purple dye, Philip Henry Gosse, and the Bell Rock lighthouse

Puzzling about the link to Solway Shore-walker? It is the dog-whelk Nucella lapillus, the ‘boring mollusc’ of an earlier blog-post. On page 182 of Natural History: The Mollusca, published in 1854, Philip Henry Gosse writes: ‘From Mr Stevenson’s interesting account … Continue reading

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Boring molluscs and bevelled edges

Dog-whelks, Nucella lapillus, were clustered on the mid-shore rocks in late April; singles, twos and threes, they were apparently uninterested in the barnacles beneath their feet, but were there to socialise or, more specifically, to meet partners of the opposite … Continue reading

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