We took my Mother-in-law to the beach this afternoon. She wanted to swim, but I thought the sea was too rough (saw two surfers whooping with delight) so we didn’t let her. Instead we walked along the sand until we couldn’t get any further because the high tide was busy eroding the friable clay that counts as cliffs in these parts.

The thing is, in that short walk of about a mile I counted four separate discarded shoes along the high tide line. They all looked perfectly good, but different sizes and styles.

Great Britain has got 11,073 miles of coastline, not including any islands. That means that there must be over 44,000 odd shoes lying around our shores. It is therefore highly likely that you, or someone close to you has lost a shoe at the seaside in the last couple of years. Please check.

Fortunately most of these shoes will soon be gathered up by scavenging schoolteachers. That may be why you don’t see any next time you go to the beach.

8 Responses to “Footnote”

  1. 1 Andy, Aviva, Perth

    My wife and I climbed Ben Lomond, in the west of Scotland, last weekend and well up the mountain there was a single wellington lying on a rock! That can’t have been brought in by the tide, so we wondered what the story was behind its abandonment.

    • 2 Alan

      Andy – perhaps it was from a really good thrower in a toss the welly contest?

  2. 3 Derek Wright

    Oh Alex! Was a time when you would have challenged such an assumption that the shoes occur at a constant ratio around the coast. What about currents, geological variations, etc., giving rise to regional concentrations or dearths?

    PS Could you send me your e-mail address, please? I need to send you something regarding the 2009 Calendar.

  3. 4 Mike S

    Can I suggest you do some related research into bus shelters. I tend not to use buses very often now, but in my younger days, when I did use buses, and had the energy to go up to the top deck, there often seemed to a lone shoe on top of one or two of the bus shelters en route – along with a traffic cone here and there.
    Mike S

  4. 5 JGodard

    there’s lovely pair of white boots on top of the bus shelter in tombland that have spent the last 4 years slowly rotting. If you’re a nimble size four then they’re there for the taking.

  5. 6 Sue Mitchell

    I’ve just returned from my holiday, so I’m catching up on your blog! My question is, did any of the shoes have a foot in them? You may think this a strange question, but when on holiday last year in British Columbia, Canada, the papers were full of stories of sneakers being washed up on the BC coast and THEY HAD FEET IN THEM! None of them matched and they have no idea who they belonged to! In case you think I am making up this crazy story …
    take a look! Even I could not make this one up!

    • 7 alexoutside

      Hi Sue – hope you had a good holiday. I didn’t look in the shoes. Next time I will check. I like the Victoria Times Colonist story – and especially the comments… particularly the one from Big Woody “Something is afoot here. The police are stumped. Somebody should give them a hand”…

  6. 8 Sue Mitchell

    Part of our holiday last year was a coach tour, I’m sure you can imagine the many and varied ‘foot’ jokes that were made during the long journeys around the Rockies!

    This year’s holiday was excellent too, thanks for asking, went to NYC, Niagara, Philly and Washington DC. Viewed many cool t-shirts along the way, in fact, hubby even bought a few!

    Keep on blogging.


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