Kallin Shell Midden - Atlas Obscura

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Kallin Shell Midden

This impressive midden of scallop shells apparently all comes from a single fishing company. 


The island of Grimsay, in Scotland’s archipelago of the Outer Hebrides, is home to the community of Kallin (Ceallan in Gaelic). Kallin is one of the bases of Namara, a seafood company whose main business is based off the nearby island of North Uist. For the Kallin shop, scallops are among their best sellers, which is abundantly clear in the midden that surrounds their store.

Middens are large collections of shells, which are discarded after the meat of the animals is consumed. The midden at Kallin is almost entirely made of scallop shells, which take over the shape of the bay they cover, creating a curved coastline seemingly made out of nothing but exoskeletons.

The shell cover is so thick that stepping on the shore creates a distinctive cracking noise, also making every step similar to standing on loose, large shingles. Surprisingly, the smell of such a collection of food waste is not unpleasant, as the seawater nearby and minerals in the shells seem to only enhance the smell of the sea.

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