Category Archives: Snippets

Snippets 13: “A hare in a fix”

The polar bear on the ice-floe is the iconic image of climate change and the warming of our seas. Here on the Solway Firth nearly 140 years ago, the climate had changed in the other direction – towards a bitter … Continue reading

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Snippets 12: In praise of Bowness Moss

Bowness Moss or Common is one of the South Solway Mosses National Nature Reserves, NNR [1]. The near-pristine centre of this raised mire is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, SSSI;  it’s also a Special Area of Conservation, SAC. Acronyms … Continue reading

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Snippets 11: big moon, big tides, at Allonby Bay

On Monday night the full moon, its face very slightly squashed, shone down on a stormy Solway Firth. The brown silt-laden waves pounded ashore and shortly after midnight the incoming tide that was battering the sea-defences at Dubmill Point reached … Continue reading

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Snippets 10: stone stoops

Gateposts don’t normally attract our attention, so it is easy to miss the fact that many of the ‘posts’ supporting field gates on the Solway Plain are not posts at all, but are the traditional red sandstone pillars – known … Continue reading

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Snippets 9: ‘Seeing’ the Solway’s bottom

“Between Solway Buoy and Corner Buoy, it’s a critical region, the region that gives us the most trouble. At Corner Buoy there’s a narrow corridor – that channel is our window [to Silloth], to the East of it are big … Continue reading

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Snippets 8: A non-conformist on the shore

‘Brockram’ and ‘breccia’: the first word suggests something that is solid and long-lasting, the other has a hint of transience, of frippery. But Brockram is a form of breccia; it looks like a congealed and lumpy mess of porridge that … Continue reading

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Snippets 6: ” ‘Tis the voice of the lobster’ I heard him declare…”

Cumbria isn’t just about the National Park and Herdwick sheep, but even on the Solway coast, it sometimes helps to have ‘Lake District’ in your title. The Lake District Coast Aquarium at Maryport is a little gem of an aquarium … Continue reading

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Snippets 5: Angels, salt and shroud-pins

Pat Bull unlocked a peeling black door and showed me into a small brick-walled room. On the plain wooden table which almost filled the space were small polythene bags and boxes, labelled in black feltpen with numbers and letters. At … Continue reading

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Snippets 4: First notes – Hadrian’s Wall of Sound, Bowness-on-Solway

At 5.45am the tide was still on the ebb, standing waves (‘reestings’) corrugated the surface of the channel, and the only sound amid the weighty silence of the still air was the trilling of oyster-catchers. I walked, and waited, and … Continue reading

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Snippets 3: plastic rubbish and a bathyscope

My new piece of kit as a ‘low-tide guide’ (a delightful title conferred on me recently by BBC Radio4’s Open Country) is a bathyscope; with a bathyscope one can peer beneath the ruffled surface of pools and find out what’s … Continue reading

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