Friday, 22 August 2014

A windy walk in Wales for the bank holiday weekend

We've been picking the brains of the Sea Champions team as they spend lots of time out and about by our fabulous coastline. They've come up with some great walks for you to try this summer.

Here's the third of four walks, this time in Pembrokeshire.

Where: Dale round St Anne’s head and along to Marloes beach, Pembrokeshire

Walked by: MCS Sea Champions Manager, Justine Millard, partner Steve Hervey and Iolo Williams, her faithful four-legged furry-faced companion!

Parking: Large car park in Dale for £3 per day

The walk: A 7 – 8 mile circular walk from Dale going around St Anne’s head. The last mile or so up the coast makes it worth the effort as you will be rewarded by amazing views of Marloes beach.

Things to see along the way: Gorgeous views, lots of lovely little coves and beautiful, secret golden beaches, stunning views, sea, sea and more sea, and oh, did I mention the views?!

Some interesting tidbits: You start off walking east towards the coast! You then go west, north and south! Mill Bay - The actual place where Henry Tudor landed on 7th August 1485 on his way to defeat Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and to become King Henry VII. His army was simultaneously arriving at Dale Roads in a fleet of 55 ships that docked at this Historic landing point.

Places to eat: The Griffon Inn at Dale is a great place to finish and admire the sea view, whilst enjoying a refreshing drink and some lovely food alongside fellow walkers, kayakers, cyclists and happy dogs!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Scotland's Marine Litter Strategy launched!

Thanks to all our amazing Sea Champions for gathering proof that marine litter IS increasing, and for those of you who took part in last year's consultation. Scottish Government listened!

MCS Scotland Programme Manager, Calum Duncan, joined Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead at Portobello West Beach, Edinburgh yesterday for the launch of the first ever strategy setting out how to tackle the problem of marine litter around the country's coasts and waters.

We've led calls for a Marine Litter Strategy for almost a decade and hundreds of our supporters responded to last years consultation.

Data you send us after your Beachwatch surveys, feeds into strategy which reveals almost 40 new actions to minimise coastal and marine litter. We're pleased to see Scottish Government listened and the strategy includes some of our recommendation's, such as extending Port Waste Reception Facilities to include fishing vessels, expansion of the KIMO fishing for litter initiative, encouraging alternatives to plastic micro beads in personal care products and highlighting the need to tackle sources of sewage related debris.

Read the full story>>

You can help make a difference to Scotland's beaches by signing up to the Great British Beach Clean here>>

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Sea Champion completes cycle race through rain and floods for marine conservation

Sea Champion Elspeth contended with the terrible weather Hurricane Bertha threw at us at the weekend, during her first 100 mile cycle race - the Ride London-Surrey 100.  

"I found out on the start line that they had shortened the course by 14miles to leave out Box Hill and Leith Hill due to the rain forecast. When I heard that I was a bit disappointed because I had been out training on those hills to make sure I could do them, however, by the time we got to the point where we would have cycled the hills, I was soaked to the bone and we were cycling through floods in the road, so it was a bit of a relief not to have to tackle the hills!"

"The second half of the ride was much more fun - the sun started to break through and there were plenty of people out to cheer us on which gave us all a big boost (a lot had been out in the rain all morning cowering under umbrellas - amazing of them to make such an effort to come out and support the riders). Cycling past the Houses of Parliament, up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and then turning to finish on the Mall to cheering crowds was a great experience - suddenly 86 miles didn't seem so far after all!"

Elspeth has raised £790 so far, and is still getting sponsored at

Fancy riding for us in next year's Ride London-Surrey 100 race? Find out more>>

Sea Champion Elspeth completing the RideLondonSurrey100 to raise money to save our seas.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Welcome back to European Cycle Expedition duo!

Sea Champions return from epic cycle to raise funds to save our seas

Throughout June and July, Sea Champions Oli Minto and Matt Zietz who study Marine Biology and Oceanography at Plymouth University, combined their passions for the sea, cycling and adventure, by embarking on an expedition from southern Poland, up north and along the coast, all the way back to the UK, by bicycle.

Their European Cycle Expedition visited the Baltic Coastline, crossed Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France – a whopping 2,700 km!

“Throughout our journey we raised awareness of topical marine issues close to our heart such as plastic pollution and overfishing via the medium of travel and adventure, as well as raising funds for MCS,” says Ollie. “We both have an unrivalled passion for the marine environment and the diversity of life contained within it.”

The duo are still collecting sponsors on their Virgin Money Giving page>>

Inspired? Check out our resources for fundraisers for tips and ideas on organising your own challenge.


Monday, 4 August 2014

A summer walk in Scotland

We've been picking the brains of the Sea Champions team as they spend lots of time out and about by our fabulous coastline. They've come up with some great walks for you to try this summer.

Here's the second of four walks, Pittenweem to Fifeness in Fife, walked by Matt Barnes our Scotland Sea Champions Coordinator

Distance: 8 miles or 12.8 km including unmade paths and rough terrain. Can take between 4-6 hours. Proceed with caution near livestock.

Parking: Lower Largo Temple car park, Fife West Coastal Path car park

The walk: Pittenweem is Fife’s only working fishing harbour. The path borders the Anstruther Golf Course, and along the rockyshore past Billow Ness to the four old royal burghs which constitute Anstruther. This popular tourist village is noted for the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the Reaper, a herring drifter built in 1900. There are daily boat trips, during the Summer months only, to see the thousands of birds on the Isle of May nature reserve.

The route continues through the narrow streets of Cellardyke, passing its picturesque harbour north eastward towards Crail. At first, the path follows a track then narrows, passing through kissing gates and stone stiles onto open pasture. Caiplie Caves are a prominent, weathered sandstone feature situated almost halfway between Cellardyke and Crail.The route continues past an old salmon bothy and salt works before winding its way via some stone steps to Crail. 

Leading onto Fife Ness the path is challenging in places, with narrower and altogether rougher terrain. It passes the Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and sheep and cattle graze the area at certain times of year. The path crosses the reserve and onto Fife Ness, the most easterly point in Fife.

A view over Crail in Fife, on Matt's summer walk in Scotland.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Sea Champion Atlanta Cook's twenty years of beach cleaning!

Here's her story:

"My mum always had an extra plastic bag with her for "other people's rubbish" whenever we went to the park or beach. I learnt that it wasn't cool to drop litter and it didn't give someone a good job. It just made a mess of the place and ended up in the sea floating next to you, or in the stomach of some poor sea bird. So really I started beach cleaning with her back in the 70s.

"I helped set up Surfers Against Sewage's Brighton group in '91, raising awareness of the 80 Olympic sized swimming pools of raw sewage being pumped out of Brighton every day, then went on to set up a group in North Devon group 2000. Organising beach cleans came hand in hand with that, as well as plenty of partying and surfing of course.

"Much has changed over the years, and with 40% of beach litter dropped by the public, plastic bottles are a notable new menace. Drinks were in returnable glass bottles or cans in the 70s, so there was a bigger glass problem on the beaches, but at least it ground down in the sea and didn't store toxic chemicals.

"If someone had told me back then we'd have a toxic plastic soup running through the entire water column by the next millennium I would never have believed that humans could be so reckless...but here we are!

"We desperately need to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we buy. Our food chain is polluted, and we have to protect our food, right?"

Atlanta first started organising MCS beach cleans at Rottingdean in 2006, and after meeting lots of like minded beach combers, she formed the Deans Beach & Environment Volunteers in 2013 with her friend and fellow Sea Champion, Libby Darling. Volunteer numbers grew and grew, and they re-launched in May as The Deans ‘GRAB’ Volunteers -  ‘Gather Rubbish And Bag-it!’

With monthly beach cleans in Saltdean, Rottingdean and Ovingdean, public awareness has certainly been improved, but they are still struggling with a sewage related debris problem (the things people put down the loo but shouldn't) so they've been using our Beachwatch Surveys to try and highlight the problem to local councillors and MPs.

To join in The Deans ‘GRAB’ Volunteers feel good factor, check out their facebook page at or email them at

Want to get involved in beach cleaning? Then Join us for the Great British Beach Clean this September!

Sea Champion Atlanta with her team of "GRAB" beach cleaning volunteers at Rottingdean