By Gabbi Armstrong
Communications Project Manager for the North Coast 500
Published: 23rd May 2018

The joy of Sea glass

Sea glass searching is an enjoyable activity, its good exercise and all the family can join in. It’s like a treasure hunt that can be enjoyed around the North Coast 500. Find out how you can get involved from Bronagh Braidwood, owner of The Highland Haven in Caithness – an affordable yet luxurious haven along the North Coast of the NC500.

As a city girl, I had never even heard of sea glass, let alone hunted for it! Having moved to the far North East, I found my daily routine change from coffee mornings, to indulging in a walk along the beach. It was a necklace gifted to my son that opened my eyes to the mindful activity of searching for sea glass.

Sea glass is formed from old broken bottles, tableware, even lights tossed around in the sea, gently eroding and landing on beaches all over the world. Americans are crazy for collecting it, and more are venturing to Scotland to find new pieces to add to, what can be, extensive collections.

As my own collection has increased, I have noticed the wide varieties of shapes, colours and sizes. It truly is an addictive activity, that I find meditative and rewarding. The benefits of fresh sea air and encouraging my children to walk an extra-long walk with the promise of hidden treasure, add up to a magical beach combing experience.

Photo: The Highland Haven – Sea Glass Searching

The best time to go on a sea glass quest is after stormy conditions and high tide. It can be a solitary or group hobby, concentrating on finding hidden gems whilst not really thinking about anything at all! But what to do with everything you’ve collected? Jewellery seems the obvious choice, but I send some of my own pieces to other collectors around the world. I am attempting to make a large chandelier for my new business from what seems an endless supply that fill jars and vases around my house. Other samples have been sent to a glass artist friend in Glasgow to experiment with. Look out for rare colours and designs as they are sought after, with a lot of collectors selling on Etsy.

The NC500 route with its many beaches is the perfect spot to try finding some gems of your own. Obviously, this changes regularly, such is the beauty of changing tides, but I can recommend Ullapool, John O’Groats and Golspie beaches as places where I have found some of my more interesting pieces. Four years after moving here, I am slowly losing my city girl ways. The cappuccino mornings have been replaced by combing my local beaches, and I couldn’t be more content. See you at the beach!

Photo: The Highland Haven – Sea Glass Searching

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