January is the month of serial winter storms. Clew Bay’s inner islands protect the coast between Westport and Newport from the wrath of these North Atlantic storms. Bertra, the local Blue flag beach at the foot of Croagh Patrick has been hard hit again. A boulder beach has covered the tarmac access road to the beach.
Extensive plastic piping debris from a nearby salmon farm is strewn on the beach beside the wheelchair access.
Further down the beach, exposed plastic rubbish is much more visible, the sandunes have been chewed away and the beach breached by the winter storm surges when gales and high tides coincide.
Tide tables have been in great demand serving as the early warning system of the coastal dweller. So far our luck is in with little coastal flooding compared to previous winters. The sea though has eaten away metres of the coast and damaged small access roads and walls protecting the fragile coast.