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:
Strange things found all over the beach, I’m guessing some kind of egg case.
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.