It’s remarkable how a shift in thinking can change your relationship with a place. My decision to collect plastic along Castaway Beach has given me a real spring in my step. The number of castaway plastic items littering this beautiful place is staggering. Doing something about it is uplifting.
Yes, its an effort, an hour walk to the sea, along the creek and an hour back,
another hour combing the mile or so stretch of sand, seaweed, pebbles and shingle.
But it is a fascinating and ever changing landscape to explore. The beach is situated on the edge of Nagden Marches, behind a concrete sea wall.
Opposite is the beautiful and strange Isle of Sheppey, in centuries past the winter camp of Viklings and invaded by the Dutch in 1667. The sea in-between is half sea, half estuary. It goes out far at low tide leaving a vast mud flat dotted with beautiful tufts of sea grass and wading birds probing for worms, molluscs and othe invertebrates.
So ordinarily, my head is lifted to the sea and sky. But during plastic collection it is turned down. There is a rich array of plastic to be found from large objects to tiny such as childrens drinking straws and plastic bottle caps.
to strange and curious surprises that make you scratch your head
Walking off the beaten track on a beach can also bring you across things you would rather not have seen, like this poor young gannet
But looking down brings you into another world and allows you to see details you would otherwise have walked past, objects that are as beautiful as the sunset, vast blue sea or crashing waves above and in front of you.