Whilst out for a walk on Cranfield beach with my friend and my dog the other day , I was stopped by a lady carrying out a questionnaire. Stricter controls on coastal quality are to be brought in over the next couple of years, and the Government is trying to assess what value people in Northern Ireland put on the use of the beaches and their environment. As someone who values the local area highly, both out of personal usage, and for the importance of its beauty for my work, I am pleased to see that the Government recognises some its shortcomings in not only protecting the area, but also in educating people visiting the area.
Amongst the questions presented, was a list of pictures of sea birds and animals. The respondent was asked to name each one. I am ashamed to say, that although I recognised each one straight away, many of the names eluded me. It got me wondering, however, if such knowledge is important in order to benefit from the nature of these animals? I enjoy taking my walk along Cranfield beach, and admiring the various birds swooping and diving over the waves, or the little ones that run quickly inwards as the tide rushes towards them, only to follow it back again. However, I think it would be interesting if I was able to identify species… I would then know what they are searching for, or whether they are moving off to warmer climes soon. Or in fact, have they arrived here as we have a warmer clime?
We continued our walk around the beach from Cranfield, under the old wooden pier at Greencastle, and perched ourselves at the end and admired the view down the Lough, with the Cooleys on the left and the Mourne Mountains on our left. We both commented that sometimes it isn’t that we don’t value the area around us, it’s just that we are blessed to live in an area with such beauty that it is hard to remember it all!