Forty years ago my nature notebooks show that I wasn’t just observing the natural world but I was prodding it and poking it as well to see what would happen. I was listening to barnacles crackling and watching them react to touch. It’s obvious now, with hindsight, that just six years later I would be starting at Oxford University studying animal biology, but back then I was blissfully unaware, lost in a world of tiny creatures.
Westray is also full of barnacles. Today I have long trousers on so the barnacles aren’t quite the danger that they were to me forty years ago. I want to listen to them to see if they crackle.
And they do.