Sandwood Bay

Hidden away in the far north west corner of Scotland, there is a beach. This beach is consistently voted amongst the very top beaches in the UK to visit. To get here however, involves a very, very long drive (amongst some of the best scenery Scotland has to offer), followed by a 5 mile hike across open moorland.

The hike itself is very straightforward. There is a good track most of the way, although it can be quite wet and muddy in a few places, as it passes directly next to several hill lochs. As you approach the bay, rounding the headland you are rewarded with a stunning view of Sandwood below you. The pounding of the waves crashing along this mile long stretch of beach drifts up to you, and you cannot stop yourself from smiling as you begin the descent to explore this awe inspiring place.

Spending a night or more wild-camping here is the best way to experience Sandwood.

The beach is backed by many large dunes,

and spectacular rock formations/colours.

Am Buachaille – (The Shepherd) is the sea stack at the southern end of the Bay.

During stormy weather, Sandwood becomes even more atmospheric.

Plenty to see and do here; fishing, camping, exploring, photography, hiking onwards to Cape Wrath,

or just relaxing.

The sunsets are different every night.

A highly recommended place to visit. Despite the remoteness, this beach still attracts quite a few tourists, but as the Bay is so large, the feeling of space and isolation is not diminished.

39 thoughts on “Sandwood Bay

  1. Superb photos of a special place. Visted Sandwood back in 2001, lunch overlooking Am Buachaille, stroll on the beach, a swim for the braver ones. On a long (and getter longer by the day) list of places to visit and revisit

    • In April? I don’t think anyone actually got fully immersed did they? As I remember it, the undertow was a bit scary.
      Great photos David. I’m guessing that you’ve been there a few times. I’ve always wanted to go back – now I think I should take my kids too. Isn’t there a bothy somewhere there abouts?

      • Indeed it was, we stayed in that fine house in Kinlochbervie. I remember the undertow so I didn’t venture past my knees but you and Rob went in and jumped about. Be a great place to take the kids for a camp by the beach – bit of a drive though!

      • Thanks Mark, There’s a couple of bothies pretty near to here – Strathchailleach and Strathan. Both of them are well maintained and within walking distance of the beach (a few kilometres)

  2. This provoked many happy memories of being there long ago with my Dad showing my kids how to light a bonfire with driftwood and cook potatoes in an old biscuit tin and then how to toast marshmallows on a stick at the fire. We were the only folk on the beach. Glorious days. I can’t remember too much of a hike with my old Dad so we must have taken the boat round there but am not sure where we launched it. Any ideas? But I do remember a hike there without him and that was also with my kids who complained bitterly the whole way…until they saw the beach. Then whoops of delight!!!!

    • Thanks Anon, a boat could have been launched from a number of places around here – Kinlochbervie perhaps? I can imagine the kids complaining and getting bored with the walk but the first sight of the bay will linger long in their memories I’m sure.

  3. Probably one of the best beaches that I have ever visited, it’s simply lovely. Must go back one day and walk north to Cape Wrath. Some cracking photos there.

  4. Scotland was often said to be a comfortable place to visit for Alaskans because of similarities in terrain. The moors are a lot like our tundra. However, I do believe that beach of yours is NOT replicated anywhere along the immense Alaska coast.

    Stunning, breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

    • lol, thanks Lahgitana. There’s actually several very nice beaches dotted around our northern/north western coast – a lot of them very little known. I’m sure the beaches will be very comfortable places to visit for Alaskans during our cold wet season – July-May 😀

  5. On my LEJOG in 2007 I met a chap on the beach in the evening tending a roaring fire of driftwood, who came here on his own every summer for years and years. He spent his life in a windowless office staring at computer screens and this was his special place to regain his sanity.

    It mad sense to me. I was taking photos at midnight on the beach in the half light of late June.

    A fabulous spot.

  6. Tremendous series of pics there,especially the ones of the rock formations.
    Pity weather like that is another eight months or so away.
    Never mind,I`m off to Spain for some sunshine later this week.That`s the good news,the bad news is I`m going to visit my sister-in-law 🙂

  7. Fabulous photos of a fabulous place! Spent an afternoon, evening and night there in September 2008 on the way to Cape Wrath, having walked from Knoydart …

  8. Beautiful photos, David of this wonderful corner of our country. I like your camping spot on the grass there. We were there last year and camped for two nights. We had a glorious sunny day and one mad wifie (ahem, me!) swam in the sea three times during the course of the day.

    • Sheila! I’m married to a mad wee wifie who likes a swim or three in any body water at all at any time of year. We found your copy of Graham Swift’s ‘The Light of Day’ in a wee hoose on Coll a few months back…

      • Ha! Small world, writesofway! I left that book on a small, local hill above Loch Ness. Thanks for taking the time to log into bookcrossing to note your find, I see that you enjoyed it too! (Sorry for hijacking your blog, David!)

  9. David, a wonderful, beautiful post. Just a few words and those remarkable images tell the rest. Is that you sitting on the sand?

    • aye it is indeed, took a few attempts at self timer before I actually got one I thought was ok, that didn’t have me sprawled out or in mid air as I leapt into frame to avoid leaving footprints on the beach. 😀

  10. excellent introduction to this amazing place. I’ve been several times and it’s by far my favourite place on earth. Been going every year since 2005 for a recharge

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