We first noticed Susan’s incredible litter-picking efforts on LinkedIn. She posts amazing photo collages of everything she collects and after seeing several of these posts, we knew we had to reach out and find out more about what Susan has been up to and what got her started on her litter-picking journey.
Susan is the Office Manager at Seahills Farm. Seahills is one of the sunniest places in Scotland and has SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest), being a haven to many rare flora and fauna along its cliffs and beaches. They are especially famous for their strawberries which grow to be extra delicious in this special climate.
Tell us more about where you have been focusing your efforts?
Elliot Beach, Arbroath on the East coast of Scotland is an area that I have been in a mission to clean up since November 2022. I roughly spend around 12 hours at the beach each week.
It is about a 3 mile round trip stretch with the logistics of it being a bit of a nightmare as no direct access by car.
What motivated you to start this amazing project?
The motivation was after stormy seas on the 19th November 2022 which brought ashore so many creels, fishers rope, plastics , Showa gloves etc. In the years walking Elliot Beach I had never seen it in such a mess it was sad to see and thought I would take some action.
The first few days were just moving everything above the high tide mark so would not go back out to sea.
Our East Haven a community group further along the beach have an ATV so over the past few months they went out and collected the creels and fishers rope that were lifted above the high tide mark. They could only get so far along the beach, so other creels were collected using my beach trolley.
Tell us about some of the more interesting/ annoying/ unusual / most common things you have found.
The most annoying thing for me just now is creel plastic coatings, hundreds of pieces I pick up a week. The coating is used on the creels to stop them rusting, so not sure if they will ever stop making them with the coating. I will keep posting on social media my finds to highlight how many there are in the hope that one day they will rethink their creel design.
There was one huge pile a tangled mass of creels and rope that I just could do anything with at the time and hoped that the fishermen would collect, sadly that did not happen and a few weeks ago I teamed up with a lovely lady who helped me hand dig the creels and rope out.
During the project I have made a few new friends who are passionate as I am about keeping the beaches in Arbroath clean.
As well as cleaning the beach itself I have also went into areas around it including the SSSI area where huge amounts of alcohol bottles, alcohol cans and food wrappers were found , along with razors, batteries, sunglasses, hip flasks, sleeping bag, part of an iPod, a whole fishing rod, tyres, golf balls and so much more.
The earliest date of an item I found was estimated at being from the 1970’s which was an old margarine tub, other old items found were a glass lucazade bottle, Highlander crisp packet, little toy soldiers, a 54321 wrapper, Barrs dumpy glass bottle , an old Coca Cola bottle from the 1980’s and a 1996 Stella can.
What are your plans for the future?
Future plan is to introduce a biodegradable punnet at work for our strawberries after seeing the amount of plastic on and around the beach. To keep maintaining the area and organise a beach clean with the community and local businesses after the next big storm.