The Joy Of Fishing Floats………………

By Bernie Bell

In ‘Underland’, in the section entitled ‘Haunting’, Mr Mac climbs laboriously and perilously to access some caves in the Lofoten islands,  to see the Red Dancers – figures painted on the rock, long ago.  On the way, he heads down to the near-by coast, and says that,  below him, he sees “puzzlingly, hundreds of perfect spheres, dark orange in colour.”  When I read that, I knew just what they were, and exclaimed – rounds!

I likes rounds  – I gather them from beaches – from the very, very small ones, through the small, then medium, to large – some with ‘ears’ – to what we call the Broon Roonds – the big metal trawler weights, one of which is in the centre of the spiral in our meadow, with a paperweight, with a spiral in it, on top of the round.  Here it is…………..

There are also blobs (the rubbery ones), rotundoids (not quite round),  ellipses – no need to explain that!  All sorts.

I like the shapes and the colours, and, in the winter, when there are basically three colours in our garden – green, brown and grey – the rounds, blobs, etc. give shape and colour to what can be a bit of a grim scene.  Many of them disappear under vegetation in the summer, to re-emerge next winter.

There are places on Orkney where the tides mean that there are more of them, then in other places, and, tantalizingly, we often see them at the bottom of geos ( gullies) which are inaccessible. Mike gets them for me, if he can, tho’ sometimes he would be prepared to go to places which I just don’t think are safe to go to.

Also, us collecting them and bringing them home, removes some of the plastic from the beaches and the sea.  The metal ones, rust away eventually, but the plastic ones just break up and break down to add to the problem of plastic pollution

The rusting metal ones, with holes in, often provide a home for marine life, in which case, we leave them where they are.  They can look really interesting.

We’ve got a few old green glass ones too, which are getting rarer – someone I know described them as being “like hen’s teeth”. I have some glass ones indoors, which can produce interesting effects………..

floats 1 Bell

The glass ones which are outdoors, catch the sun beautifully, and also the sun, on raindrops, on the glass – picture it.

I like round things – that’s part of the appeal, too.

Fiona-As-Used-To-Be-Next-Door, thought I was nuts, putting these bits of crap-off-the-beach in the garden, then she started to bring them home, too, and now the two gardens flow together, beautifully. Fiona has a  Round Tower, which I covet……


Pic by Fiona Driver

Two bad backs, means that Mike and I don’t bring Big Broon Roonds home any more.  When we find them, I just look at them, and sigh.

Someone at Lews Castle, Isle of Lewis , saw the appeal of broon roonds – and this one has ears, too!

floats 2 Bell

Orkney News readers may remember the, very, pot-bellied stove, made from a Big Broon Roond, at The Loch Croistean Café, Uig , Isle of Lewis…..

stove on Uig B Bell Western Isles

as described here……

And on that homely note, I think I’ll finish my celebration of the collecting of fishing floats!

It’s not just fishing floats, though, if folk ‘Pick Up Three Pieces’ , they ‘ll not only help to clear up the beaches, but also might find themselves taking home some interesting or useful items!

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