Category Archives: shells

Limestone: Death assemblages

This blogpost is part of my ‘limestone lockdown’ project. For an Introduction to the project, and a guide to the growing list of related posts, see Limestone in the Lake District: an Introduction – and the ‘categories’ list in the … Continue reading

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Snippet 15: The continuing mystery of the piddocks

The tide is ebbing and, along the inner edge of a shallow channel on the shore, it has deposited a line of offerings, neatly sorted: predominantly mussel shells, some black, some striped, all shining wetly in the October sun; a … Continue reading

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The Walls of Parton

‘Are you looking for the old port?’ The man seemed to have appeared from nowhere, yet he was tall and strongly built, white hair sticking up straight, not easy to overlook. ‘Port?’ I was bemused – I’d been poking at … Continue reading

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‘Signor tuberculato’, PH Gosse and Charles Kingsley

Cockle shells are piled like snow-drifts amongst the trees at the top of the bay; they form banks and ridges along the shore. Balcary Bay, its entrance partly plugged by Heston Island, looks to be a tranquil and sheltered haven, … Continue reading

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Hunting for ‘guggies’, and finding ‘canoes’, on the Galloway shore

Last weekend we went to the Scottish side of the Solway Firth to hunt for a boring mollusc. Or, rather more accurately, for the empty shells of a marine snail, Natica monilifera, known variously as the Necklace Shell, the beaded … Continue reading

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Loom-stones or fishing-weights? (And the role of piddocks)

In my post on March 21st 2014 I wrote about an object I had found on the shore near Beckfoot, which one of my shore-walkers told me was a warp-weight or loom-stone; I subsequently saw similar objects used to keep … Continue reading

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Tyrean Purple dye, Philip Henry Gosse, and the Bell Rock lighthouse

Puzzling about the link to Solway Shore-walker? It is the dog-whelk Nucella lapillus, the ‘boring mollusc’ of an earlier blog-post. On page 182 of Natural History: The Mollusca, published in 1854, Philip Henry Gosse writes: ‘From Mr Stevenson’s interesting account … Continue reading

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Boring molluscs and bevelled edges

Dog-whelks, Nucella lapillus, were clustered on the mid-shore rocks in late April; singles, twos and threes, they were apparently uninterested in the barnacles beneath their feet, but were there to socialise or, more specifically, to meet partners of the opposite … Continue reading

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