Some agating trips are very much about knowing that weather might reveal more as yet unseen and untouched material, although if we're talking about the Tay, the tidal scour is minimal at the best of times, yet the screes and shingle do move, to a lesser degree than those along the more exposed coastal locations, but this movement, however localised and at times almost unnoticeable, does reveal new material fairly regularly, especially during the winter months. Mud, clay, sand and grit are also moved by the weather and the tides, to reveal patches of shingle beneath.
I recall a trip to Balmerino during the July of 2020. If it is true to say that I was unsuccessful in finding more examples of my chosen quarry, then it is also true to say that I was successful however, in discovering more of myself.
It was an eerie tramp back high above the languorous quaffs of an ebbing tide, through a dense woodland of pine and Hazel, Beech and birch, drifts of convolvulus and ivy. The sunset glimpsed through the black silhouettes of these and other plants and trees was starkly divided by the myriad twigs, branches and leaves, bringing to mind a vivid scene in stained glass. Wood smoke occasionally wafted in my direction, so I knew there were other folk about somewhere, preparing for a night under canvas. Before long I discerned a magma-like glimmer of hot coals, singular in the black, and heard the murmur of cheery voices at distance. Further on there was a discarded LED lying close to a fire-spot, momentarily startling me as I beheld the tiny white speck of luminosity that instantly inspired some paranoia of surveillance. All just fancy. Pipistrelles provided some light relief with their acrobatic swooping and diving in pursuit of the multitudinous lepidoptera, above the slurping of the river. I made note of the many trails and paths still extant, yet unused leading nowhere that criss-cross this stripe of land, between the estuary mud and the farmland above, a flank of the old Scurr Hill. Once a more open place, where picnicking and general cavorting was popular. A place where fine moss agate could be found in the hollows and screes. It was all too sudden when I found myself out of the deeper twilight, and again in the thrall of the approaching procession of streetlights. It's that place that I left too soon, of which tonight I will dream.