Surely one of the best things about Scotland is its beaches? Mainland Scotland has 6,160 miles (9,910 km) of coastline, and, when the islands are included, the country as a whole includes 11,602 miles (18,672 km). I know I am hardly objective, but to me a west coast Scottish beach is a truly wonderful thing, and one of my favourite places to be.
I love the transition between the sand and machair, transforming itself in spring into a carpet of wildflowers. I love the sound of skylarks and lapwings rising upwards on the breeze. I love the brisk air blowing west from the Atlantic, the crashing waves, the blue-green waters. I love the immediate sense of space of a wide stretch of white sand, the sensation that one is striding in a liminal place, across the very edges of the land. I love the rapidly shifting colours of these special landscapes, the way the skies change instantly from glorious to glowering.
If you were to ask me about my favourite beach, I would immediately say Machir bay, in Islay. This was the place where, six months after my stroke, I began to regain confidence in the outdoors: the beach where I knew I could, given time, feel comfortable, as a wonky disabled walker, in the landscapes that I loved. Next on my personal top beach list would be West Beach, Berneray (see Tom’s short film at the end of this post), and the beaches around the stunning Udal Peninsula in North Uist. And during our trip to Ardnamurchan, we discovered another certain contender for our list: the four beautiful sandy inlets that together make up Sanna Bay.
A walk out and around these inlets from the nearby township of Portuairk is a truly marvelous way to spend a day.
We slowly pottered around the beaches and the headland, our route marked by a series of cairns.
We looked back toward the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan point, standing at the most Westerly point of mainland Scotland.
It was a truly stunning day to enjoy spectacular views to the Small Isles and the Hebrides beyond. This artist with her easel definitely had the right idea.
Sanna is a spot to which I’ll definitely be returning!