Man On A Beach

What luck! I met the Man On A Beach! He's an anonymous filmmaker who travels the coasts of Great Britain asking strangers one simple question: "What does the beach mean to you?"

Check out his excellent website, manonabeach: Journeys around the coast, to watch my answer.

Click here to visit the Man On A Beach website.

Here's the backstory.

On Sunday afternoon, I found myself fogged in on a northern Scottish isle. Here I was in Kirkwall, a town of 6,000 people and far more sheep and cows. I was supposed to continue on to the remote island of North Ronaldsay, population 65, but a white blanket of fog was making the journey impossible.

"The fog started on Thursday," the friendly Loganair employee explained. "No flights since then. Everyone who was waitin' took a ferry this mornin'."

"When's the next ferry?" I asked.

"Tha's just once a week," he told me. Darn.

"Well, you're from here," I reasoned "What does your intuition tell you? Will the fog lift soon?"

"Haven't seen fog last this long in two years," he replied with a bright smile. "So the intuition's useless!"

Four public bus rides, a full hostel, one Scottish chicken curry, and one Bed and Breakfast later, I woke up in Kirkwall to bright sunlight. The B&B owner had been right: easterlies had swept out the cloud. Our flight was good to go.

In the airport, I met my fellow passengers: an English couple who travels near the sea, a German birder who appreciates the avifauna of Sri Lanka and Scotland, and a man carrying nothing but snacks and his phone with a fuzzy microphone attached. This last individual turned out to be the Man On A Beach. He's camping in Kirkwall for a week and taking day-trips to the remote beaches, hoping to conduct an interview on each one. Serendipity at its finest.

The smallest flight I've ever taken.

An eight-seater propellor plane with one pilot.

We flew over a handful of gorgeous green isles, dotted with sheep and ringed with stone walls.

The North Ronaldsay Airport.

"Ewe are here" -- believe it or not!

A needle-felt mural in the airport shows North Ronaldsay's unique breed of seaweed eating sheep. (More on them later.)

North Ronaldsay: windswept cirrus in a big sky.


  1. The pleasure was all mine, Nina. You are a bright star. Best wishes. manonabeach.

  2. Excellent interviews Nina! Can I follow you around everywhere? :)


  3. Hello Nina,
    You are amazing! Safe travels, I love reading these.

  4. I’m curious about the needle felting portrait. I was at a bird language course a few weeks ago and one person had made a little Junco using this technique. I’d never heard of needle felting before this! It was so real-looking one might have thought it was a stuffed dead one. She was working on another creation at the time. Very portable hobby.

  5. Great stuff ...Man on a Beach was the best nature documentary I've seen in a while.

  6. Lovely story, Nina. How lucky to run into manonabeach. Turns out my flight to Gambell, Alaska was in a nine-seater prop plane, so one person bigger than yours. No airport at all, just an airstrip. I think you were at latitude 59 seeing arctic birds in Scotland while I was at latitude 63 in Gambell and 64 in Nome seeing arctic birds. Now you're off to the REAL Arctic. I look forward to hearing about snow geese and ross's geese and arctic fox and everything else. I think Karrak Lake is at latitude 67, wow!

  7. Great fun to follow your adventures as you follow Darwin on his voyages. Keep up the good work and enjoy. Your enthusiasm is palpable. Bill


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