Whistling Sands is one of those magical places of childhood. We went there on holiday a few times as kids and it was one of my absolute favourite places, a wonderful beach of golden white sand, rocks, pools, cliffs and waves.
It also has a place in my early photographic career. I went there for a weekend and got a couple of shots that are still part of my sales stock. Taken on slide film, I liked the colours and composition but the foreground is blocked up shadow and that’s always irked.
I finally decided to forsake the mountains and go back to the seaside for an overnight wild camping trip to see if I could improve.
Whistling Sands is known on the map as Porth Or. It’s way down the Lleyn peninsula in north Wales. It’s a fair old drive so the whole peninsula feels a bit wilder, a bit off the beaten track. The Whistling name comes from the sand which makes a distinctive sound as you walk across it, something to do with the grain structure.
I got there early to work out the angles and spy out bivvy sites. It was heaving. Not surprising, one of the best beaches in the area on a hot sunny day in the school holidays. It didn’t spoil it though, it didn’t feel overcrowded.
I had hours before the interesting light so I just wandered. Past the top end of the beach is another more isolated cove with a very narrow, steep approach. This turned out to be full of really interesting rock formations and I ended up staying there until the sunset.
The evening light was good and the scenery didn’t disappoint but somehow the pictures don’t match my hopes. Stay tuned for part 2 though, as the shots I took the next morning more than make up for this.
My bedroom was the grassy headland just above. I had stars above and the sound of waves below. Life’s not so bad.
One of the interesting things I saw was lots of these weird things:
I’ve been asking around but can’t find out what they are. They feel plasticky but I’m sure they’re natural. They were all over the beach. Some of them have a indigo-coloured sticky inky residue on their base. They’re about two inches long. I’m guessing some kind of egg case.