The Tanybwlch Dragon has moved several hundred yards along the beach during last Saturday’s high seas. Once again it has beached itself gazing out to sea, its lower jaw a little more abraded, but its eager expression is now almost as convincing from the left flank as from the right.
Seas have been breaking over the stony strand which separates the beach from the low lying Tanybwlch flats, the location of summer trotting races, and formerly, of the Aberystwyth Show. Once more a huge pool has formed below Alltwen, beloved of gulls and waders.
The brackish pool on Tanybwlch flats
Over the years there have been a number of efforts to drain this area and return it to pasture, but this seems to be a losing battle and each winter the lake forms again, and as it drains away rushes prosper at the expense of grass. It is highly likely that we will see the day when the sea breaks through the pebble bar and our walks along this wild beach will be curtailed part way along.
The Dragon has migrated along Tanybwlch beach
The strand line was not as free from human debris as when I commented two weeks ago, but as with the comments from my reader about the Gower, fragments of netting and other fisherman’s waste were far more abundant than household plastic. The white lumps on the strand line were not polystyrene but cuttlefish bone, and the fluffy froth just natural sea spume.
There is a new arrival on Tanybwlch beach, remarkably in the shape of a dragon, looking out to sea.
Dragon’s head likeness
A large tree trunk, felicitously worn by the abrasive boulders has beached itself high on the shore near the south end of the beach during a recent storm, and presented itself to best advantage in this weekend’s winter sunshine.
Tree trunk at Tanybwlch beach
Walking the strand line, I was also impressed by the scarcity of plastic waste. I wonder whether this is entirely down to the dedicated beach cleaners who regularly patrol our beaches, or whether, (dare one hope?) the rate at which rubbish is discarded into the Irish sea is at last diminishing.
I used to beach clean here regularly a decade ago when we recorded all the items for the Marine Conservation Society records. In those days one did not go far to fill a sack with single-use plastic and hard plastic crates and bits of rope. Yesterday there were a few bottle tops and fragments of plastic amongst the dried wrack, but the waste was predominantly what it should be: biodegradable seaweed and sticks washed down the rivers in the recent rains.
Driftwood on the strandline
How much easier on the eye than a strandline of coloured waste. Aberstwyth Beach Buddies and Surfers against Sewage are to be congratulated for their action and campaigning, but so too is everyone who now chooses not to chuck their rubbish into the sea in the first place! I remember standing on a cross channel ferry in the 1970s and watching aghast as a kitchen hand emerged on the deck below and tipped all the ferry’s catering packaging off the stern to bob away in our wake. I have no doubt he was following orders. Fifty years later the public all have camera phones and I don’t think many companies would risk being observed.