Ullapool beach message says it all



An art installation on Ullapool’s sea wall has been given a makeover in order to promote an environmentally-friendly message.

Artists Fin Macrae and Al MacInnes — better known as DUFI-ART — used chalk to spray the temporary message ‘This is for your own good’ along the front of Ullapool’s Shore Street. It was a message that parents might give a child when advising them what they have to do, whilst encouraging people to visit and appreciate Ullapool — for their own good.

Local marine volunteers have now decided to recycle the message to give it a new meaning and a different incentive to those that see it. Scottish Wildlife Trust’s living seas officer Noel Hawkins and the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘sea champion’ Laura Shirra, both of Ullapool, had been looking at the idea of combining the resources of the two organisations to organise a local beach clean.

As MCS are hosting a beach clean in Ullapool next weekend as part of the Great British Beach Clean scheme, which will see similar events taking place across the UK, it seemed the ideal opportunity and will also clear up the beach ahead of the Loopallu music festival at the end of the month.

Noel said: “Cutbacks at the Highland Council have meant that our beach doesn’t get cleaned as often as it used to and it is thanks to Ullapool Harbour Trust that it gets cleaned at all recently.

“It is disappointing that the first thing people generally see coming into Ullapool isn’t prioritised for cleaning and can get a bit messy at times. First impressions always count and if visitors are welcomed by a messy beach it doesn’t reflect well on the village.

“Polystyrene, twine, plastic bags and general rubbish accumulate on all our beaches and not only look bad but pose a serious threat to people and children who want to visit and play on the shore as well as being potentially fatal to wildlife that can become entangled in rubbish or try to ingest it and choke. We decided to try to encourage local volunteers into taking matters into our own hands and have set up a community beach clean to attempt to remove what we can.

“Whilst assessing the beach for suitability, we realised the opportunity presented to us by the sea wall art and that by removing the ‘Y’ from the message we could change the meaning from one that was instructing us to do something we possibly didn’t want to into saying ‘This is for our own good’ — hopefully reflecting the motivation behind the beach clean and demonstrating that making a small individual change to something can have a far bigger outcome. If everyone were to get into the habit of taking away even just one piece of rubbish every time they visit and walk on the beach, we could have a huge impact on the litter around our coast and maybe make the shore cleaner and healthier.”

The beach clean starts at midday on Saturday (19th September) at the harbour. Volunteers wishing to take part can sign up at mcsuk.org.


Photo credit: Steven Gourlay Photography