stella of the wild & her tiny beautiful shell

Guest blog from a fellow wild woman…

Stella McCall is a top top top friend of mine, who has been spending time in the isles of the north. She recently sent me a photo of a beautiful treasure she found and has since written about it. Here are her words…


I am currently spending a few months in orkney staying with my parents who have recently moved there. Over the winter I have been living and working in shetland and am heading back to the busier city life in Glasgow in a few weeks time. There are many similarities but a lot of differences between Orkney and Shetland, although initially with its rolling farmland and many fields of sheep, Orkney seems tamer than Shetland. However exploring the coastline of of Orkney has shown me many magical, wild and interesting places. We recently went walking at Birsay Bay in the North West of mainland Orkney which has an Island (the Brough) that you can walk out to at low tide.

We saw lots of people busy searching in the sand leading across to the island. Asking a local family revealed that everyone was searching for Buckie Groaties. These are the shell of the cowrie, a tiny sea snail. Buckie is a Scottish word for whelks and the word groatie apparently comes from an old coin called the groat. I started searching though the sand and found a tiny buckie groatie after around 10 mins, this felt lucky as a lot of the people at the beach had been there for hours and not found one. However I was immediately so absorbed in the task of sifting through the sand and beautiful pink and white shells that I felt I could have stayed there all day. This made me think about how little time we spend in modern life fully absorbed in something and how peaceful it can feel to do something a bit mindless. I struggle to sit still and meditate but this felt like meditation to me. Apparently buckie groaties are good luck and putting one in your purse means you will always have money. My mum checked this the next day at work and all the orcadian women in her office had one. I was sceptical about this at first as I already have a token from a money temple in japan that I carry however I never seem to have very much money. Maybe because I had to buy it instead of finding it myself.


Stella xX

One thought on “stella of the wild & her tiny beautiful shell

  1. I remember many happy hours spent looking for cowrie shells on many beaches around the country, but didn’t know about the luck and money thing, so I had better get one in my pocket! Stella is right – it is a form of meditation. We all find our own ways to meditate and be mindful.

    Liked by 1 person

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