100 Weeks of Scotland: North Sea coastal towns

Alan McCredie takes in the North east in this week's photos. Pictures: Alan McCredie
Alan McCredie takes in the North east in this week's photos. Pictures: Alan McCredie
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IN Morrissey’s late 80s song “Everyday is Like Sunday” he sings of ‘The coastal town, that they forgot to close down’ and ‘Every day is like Sunday, every day is silent and grey’.

Week 55

This was my starting point in photographing some of the North Sea coastal towns and resorts on the east coast of Scotland. Like a lot of things though, the reality was different when I got there. I actually am quite attracted to these places in winter. There is a bleakness to them that is quite beautiful and if you can actually track down anywhere that is open it is usually easier to get a cup of tea.

The images this week are from Pease Bay, Portobello, Arbroath and Montrose. When I set out for Montrose and Arbroath the weather was reassuringly miserable however by the time I got there it was a wonderful winter afternoon. Although Morrissey may still have been a bit down-at-mouth on the esplanade in Arbroath I was not. The waves were thundering onto the seawall and the noise of the gulls wheeling overhead gave it the perfect coastal feel. And it was cold enough to keep all but the most intrepid of dog walker from the esplanade.

One of the best things about this photography project is that I have to travel throughout Scotland as much as I can. One of the worst things is I never seem to have much time when I get there. I had never been to Montrose before but liked it very much – there is a great mix of Victorian architecture, Scottish market town, and industrial seaport. I could have spent all day there with my camera – as it was I had about half an hour. It’s on my growing list of places to return to though.

The west coast of Scotland is famous for its rugged landscapes, sealochs, mountains and islands. While the east coast may not have such obvious charms there is still a beauty here – it is the land of the sunrise, and home to a cold and brilliant light. This Hanseatic coast has a rich and bloody history. From the Vikings to the Nazis, conflict has never been far away, lurking just out of sight over those cold North Sea waves. From fishing, whaling and the Hansa trading ports of the middle-ages through to the oil boom of the late twentieth century this coastline has seen the twists of history and will continue to do so. Both the west and the east coasts are incredible places and it is the striking differences between the two that seem to emphasise the beauty of the other.

So, while Morrissey trudges balefully over the wet sands of his coastal town, I will happily wander through the windswept landscape of mine. The seaside is for the winter, not for summer.

Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

McCredie says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

Follow the project at 100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter.

All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/ 100 weeks of Scotland