Green grasses and dunes, clear blue water and a two kilometer long beach that seems so untouched that it almost has a pink shine to it. Sandwood Bay in Scotland is one of the most beautiful beaches of the United Kingdom, but hardly anyone knows!
Imagine a crescent-shaped piece of paradise, surrounded by colossal reefs that flank the beach on both sides and disappear in the sea. I’m sure several beaches match this idyllic description, but the best part about Sandwood Bay is that you can’t get there without making an effort.
The five mile walk
You can find this hidden beach in the northwest of Scotland, somewhere inbetween Durness and Kinlochverbie. Leave your car behind a couple of miles northwest of Kinlochverbieat, at the carpark in Blairmore: this is where the road ends and the walkway begins. It takes you about 5 miles (7km) to get all the way to Sandwood bay. Why bother? Well, because many others don’t! A lot of people decide to turn back after 2 or 3 miles. They think the beach itself will be as ordinary as the way to it, but they’re wrong. Besides, there are worse places to be than here, surrounded by bright green fields and little lochs that color the horizon now and then. It’s only at the end though, after you reach the top of a big rocky formation, that nature’s true beauty reveals itself. Beach in sight and not one single soul out there! Well, expect for the sheep, they are numerous but they’re minding their own business from a distance.
Things to do at Sandwood Bay
Climb the surrounding rocks for magnificent views, walk along the shore or have a seat in the sand to look the sea right in the eye. Or go on a treasure hunt! According to a legend, a Spanish galleon stranded just off the coast here, during a storm. The ship lost its cargo, including a great treasure that, some say, is still hidden somewhere in the dunes. And of course, no treasure without a ghost: the drowned sailor is said to keep an eye on things. He wanders around and can be seen during storms. Hard to believe, although an unexpected rain storm – and there are plenty hitting Scotland’s west coast – can be pretty spooky!
Things to see at Sandwood Bay
There’s Cape Wrath in the north: this is the most northwestern tip of Scotland. On a clear day you can see the bright reflections of the lighthouse on the cape from Sandwood bay. On the other side, you can admire a real masterpiece of nature: am Buachaille (‘the shepherd in Gaelic’), a sandstone rock that proudly protrudes above the foaming waves. The giant rock is 65 meters high and a popular obstacle for professional climbers as you can see in this Youtube movie. Oh, and did I mention there are lots of sheep?