“Today is a good day to visit the beach” I am told when discussing plans for the day with some local guests.
I stop in my tracks and take a surreptitious look outside and try to remove the incredulous look from my face when turning back to them. Outside the loch is being churned by the wind, clouds are scudding across sky, with occasional glimpses of a watery blue trying hard to make itself seen. I am wearing thick thermal socks, boots and a warm woolen scarf, as maximum temperatures today will be in the single figures. I reply with a sage nod of my head “Ah yes it’s not raining”.
Coming from South Africa, this is a totally alien concept. To spend the day at the beach requires a cooler box filled with ice cold refreshments, sun umbrellas, beach towels, sunglasses, a good book and copious amounts of sunscreen. Where at the end of the day, the skin is feeling the tingle of maybe a touch too much sun and the prickle of sea salt, beach sand in your hair and the permanent scent of coconut oil. Mission accomplished.
In Scotland – a trip to the beach takes on a whole new meaning. It does not entail lazing on the smooth sand (or small pebbles depending on where you go – South African landscaping shops could have a field day here with a seemingly never ending supply of stones for flower beds), it requires a good set of boots, all weather gear and the desire to get out there and experience the elements. To go to the beach is to go to feel the cold north wind on your face, to smell the sea spray, to find shells and unusual pieces of drift wood, to walk. It is a totally different mind set. There are the odd days that allow for the removal of shoes to feel the sand under the soles of your feet and a dip in the icy waters, but they are a rarity
Today it is predicted to be 4 degrees, and a slight breeze so I’m off to the beach! A good day to go to the beach.