All posts by Heather Buttivant

Love on the Rocks at Mawgan Porth

I love this rock; no frame could suit it better than Mawgan Porth’s sheer cliffs, golden sand and wide horizon. Perhaps I need emotional counselling, but it really is a beauty. Its seaward side lifts its face to the churning Atlantic, defying the waves that batter and submerge it for most of the year. Only a few mussels and barnacles cling on to its western edge, oblivious to the storms and sunsets I have watched from here since childhood. Continue reading Love on the Rocks at Mawgan Porth

The Zen Guide to Rockpooling

  • Pick a quiet day of the week
  • At a quiet time of year
  • On a day with quiet weather
  • Go slowly and quietly
  • Stop. Watch. Let time go

February is a wonderful month for rock pooling in Cornwall. Well, we think so, although we consider a packet of chocolate biscuits a pre-requisite for achieving anything, especially enlightenment, so Continue reading The Zen Guide to Rockpooling

My One New Year’s Resolution: Cut the Plastic

I’m not big on resolutions. It’s no secret that Cornish Rock Pools HQ is powered by chocolate and would crumble without it. This year I do have one resolution though. It’s something I do already, but I know I can do more.

This year I’m going to cut down on plastics. (Thankfully I can still buy chocolate that isn’t wrapped in plastic).

I’m going to be ruthless in my avoidance of plastic bags, bottles and Continue reading My One New Year’s Resolution: Cut the Plastic

A Winter Walk

Standing on the beach it’s hard to imagine how anything survives in our seas at this time of year. Fierce Atlantic winds send the waves surging high onto the shore, exploding against the rocks and blowing hair or sand into my eyes whichever way I turn. Yet on these dark winter days, when many of our land animals have migrated or gone into hibernation, most marine life is clinging on and waiting for spring.

Wintertime is tough even for the hardiest mariners. The strandline is strewn with those that haven’t made it Continue reading A Winter Walk

Cornish Rock Pools visits Brittany – Honeycomb Worm Reef

My son loves the beach at Sainte Anne la Palud; wild dunes stretch towards a distant headland and the sand is perfect for building his creations. It’s why we return here at the end of our holiday in Brittany.

Ste Anne at low tide
The beach is vast at low tide

Last time we came it was a high spring tide and the beach was just a sliver of sand strewn with prickly cockles, sea potato urchins and even a dead eel. Now the sea is at its very lowest, a bare glimmer on the horizon. I walk towards distant low cliffs, expecting to find mussel beds around the exposed headland.

I should know by now that rock pooling can be surprising. Continue reading Cornish Rock Pools visits Brittany – Honeycomb Worm Reef

Cornish Rock Pools on Tour – Trévignon, Brittany

If Cornwall has a cousin, it must be Brittany. The family traits are unmistakeable in the culture, language and, of course, the rock pools, so it seems inevitable that I am drawn to the high headlands, sweeping dunes and granite boulders of the Cornouailles region. With the sun bouncing off the multi-coloured fishing boats behind the harbour wall at Trévignon and the tide dropping, I wander under the towering man-made supports of the lifeboat slipway and nearly drop my camera in excitement.

Oysters at Trevignon, Brittany.
Oysters. Pacific oyster on right.

There are oysters clinging to the seawards side, oodles of them and they’re nearly all the native species, now rare at home due to overfishing and the invasion of the Pacific oyster. Not only that, but among them, reaching out like flowers towards the light are pale pink Devonshire cup corals. At home, I see these occasionally at the back of dark wave-battered overhangs, but these are in the open so I can get in close and marvel at every spoke of their delicate wheel-like markings. It’s a magical moment and I long for a camera with a macro strong enough to capture them. Continue reading Cornish Rock Pools on Tour – Trévignon, Brittany

Pirate Rock Pooling Adventure

The leaves are turning, the swallows are no longer dipping over the rock pools, but this long, warm Cornish summer never seems to end. We set sail from Hannafore over a barely rippling sea in the good ship Red Canoe to seek secret beaches, pirate caves and, of course, photos of interesting marine creatures. Continue reading Pirate Rock Pooling Adventure

Rockpooling With Mum

My mum will be seventy this year, but she cuts a sprightly figure as she steps across the rocks at Castle Beach. In a rare, precious moment we have time together, surrounded by glittering pools and a wide open bay.

Mum exploring Cornish rock pools.
Rockpooling with Mum, Castle Beach, Cornwall.

These are the moments we hoped for not so many years ago when Mum was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to a blood transfusion to give her the strength to make it through her cancer operation. Continue reading Rockpooling With Mum