Advent: December 8th

Sometimes when you go looking for one thing, you find another wonder as a bonus too. Keeping your eyes and ears open as you travel through each day gives so many opportunities to enrich our lives. There really aren’t enough lifetimes to explore it all!

Today’s image is of one such serendipitous find. On an 8 mile coastal walk I took to view some rock formations, I photographed a number of things that I hadn’t planned to see. The Common Blue butterfly from a few days ago was one of them. The Sea Arches themselves – Bwa Gwyn and Bwa Ddu – might have been the purpose of my expedition but the whole afternoon opened many “doors” into “paths” of interest I could go down and explore.

Anglesey is well known for the rich variety of its geology. It is perhaps the most varied and compact geopark in Europe and offers numerous opportunities for scientists, students and interested visitors to study hundreds of millions of years of mountain building earth formations. Even to ignorant observers such as myself, the sheer beauty of the colours and folds of the different kinds of rock that form the island’s tectonic base, pushed out of the sea by unfathomably immense forces before the dawn of time hold a wonder that asks us to pause and ponder.

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On the gloriously sunny windy day that I walked this stretch of coastal path, the sea glowed turquoise and the rocks in this cove shimmered as though a giant had painted cave art swatches of colour on them. It was impossible to capture the blues, greens, pinks, ochres and purplish greys on this rock face; this photo only shows a part of it.

These rocks are from the Cambrian era – formed maybe 500 million years ago. They’re quartzite, a metamorphic rock formed from quartz sandstone – a sedimentary rock. I remember learning about sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks when I was 8 years old from my very enthusiastic primary school teacher whose subject of special interest was geology. I found the Earth Sciences we studied in her class interesting enough then (including a school trip to Wenlock Edge to hunt for fossils!) but I had no idea that the things she was teaching us in our quiet landlocked classroom were there to be seen a couple of miles from the door of the holiday cottage we stayed in each summer of my childhood. It took a chance dog walk 28 years later to see such a stunning display of what she was so passionate about.

Now perhaps I am more drawn to their colour and form than the science behind how those things were made – nevertheless the two are inextricably linked and bound because one cannot exist without the other. I hope you enjoy their beauty too.

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