Early this year, we had a call from Barefoot Wines who needed a hand promoting their project with the Surfer’s Against Sewage to help to keep Britain’s beaches clean and we really wanted to get involved in such a worthwhile project.
Back in April we began by making a giant 150 metre sand drawing of a footprint on Morecambe beach to highlight litter that is left on beaches and washed up by the tide.
This was used to generate publicity and get people to come and help collect rubbish for the six beach clean projects that happened all over the UK throughout the summer.
For each of the beach cleans, I volunteered to drive round the country with other members of the Sand in Your Eye family to make a sand bar in each location starting with Portobello beach in Edinburgh.
I headed up and met our SIYE Scotland representative Tilly for our first sculpture and even though it was made on the dry sand with time against us, we managed to muscle our way through it! It was great to meet lots of people who were passionate about keeping the beach clean and then enjoying the sights of the beautiful city after work.
Our second bar was on the more familiar setting St Anne’s beach with Claire on an amazingly sunny day. The sea had already disappeared by the time we arrived but fortunately the water bowser arrived on time!
Bar number three saw myself and Andy set off at 5am to Scarborough beach where we knew the sand was very good and by getting there early, we caught the tide and even had time for a breakfast break! This made it a fairly relaxed day in the Yorkshire sunshine.
Heading into August, we had three weekends in a row beginning at Llantwit Major near Cardiff. Richard joined me on the long drive and in the morning we went to an incredibly beautiful beach, only problem was there was very little sand! As the tide went out, we found a spot between the rocks to make the sand bar. The sand was far from ideal for making sculptures and we had to adapt quickly at the end of the day as it dried out altering the design, a baptism of fire for Richard on his first sand adventure.
Our penultimate beach clean was at the Weston Super Mare where we knew that the sand was excellent for sculpting. Jamie, Claire, Florence, myself and Jo were at the Greenman Festival running workshops in Wales, so on the Saturday, I headed over with Jo to Weston. The day started great when we were allowed to park on the beach right next to the location on a very sunny day. We made our bar, stopped for some nice grub then went back to the festival just about avoiding getting soaked in the rainstorm!
The final mission was all the way to Joss Bay near Margate and it was lovely that my son Harry could join me and Claire and help out with the digging. As for all of the beach clean ups, the weather was fantastic and with 3 of us making the sculpture, it went up quickly. The sand was a bit tricky and we had to change the design a bit but it looked great in the end.
Although there were thousands of miles driving up and down the country in our trusty new van, it was well worth it meeting some lovely people who are passionate about looking after the UK’s amazing coastline. Thank you to everyone on the team who helped with the project, the Barefoot Wines team, Surfers Against Sewage and all the people who gave up their time to collect tonnes of rubbish from Britain’s beaches.