Yesterday was the day of the Stoer Beach Clean Up.  From afar, Stoer beach looks pristine - golden sand alongside turquoise and blue sea, nestling inside a crescent of Assynt pebbles:


The perfect beach.  Safe for swimming and lovely to just sit on and while away the hours.

Sadly, though, if you look closer you'll find all kinds of human rubbish left at the high tide mark.  Stuff thrown onto the beach by the sea, probably in disgust, and which nestles in amongst the stones and gets buried in the sand.


So armed with sturdy gloves donated by a local fish farm I grabbed a bag and joined another 35 or so volunteers and the great Stoer beach clean up began.  Only five minutes into the clean up and this was what my bag looked like:


I could only stay an hour, but as the numbers of volunteers swelled the clean up was well and truly under way.


Two and a half full bags later, I tipped my collection into the skip.  My bags included one slipper, loads of small plastic bottles and containers, and miles and miles of polypropylene rope - strong and useful, but just never decomposes.  The clear up went on for a few hours after I left, but at my departure this is what the inside of the skip looked like, after just one hour of clearing up:


A closer look shows just how much plastic and polyprop there is - most of it probably discarded from, or fallen off, ships and fishing boats as they pass through the Minch, but so much of it a real danger to the sea life around this island of ours:


All this from only one beach in the NW Scottish Highlands, collected in just one hour.  We have to do better than this, surely?