Sandwood Bay is a remote and unspoilt beach in Highlands of Scotland. What makes this beach even more special is the wonderful walk across peat moorland and through dunes to reach it.
This nature’s treasures offers a 1.6 km of pink sandy beach backed by large dunes and freshwater Sandwood Loch with views out to the high cliffs, the famous tall sea stack Am Buachaille (The Herdsman), and towards the Isle of Lewis.
According to history, it is believed, that the coast here is to be one of the earliest inhabited areas of what came to be known as Scotland. There is evidence of a Pictish settlement, and it is believed the Vikings, sailing south past Cape Wrath, would land here and drag their longships over the beach and into Sandwood Loch.
Sandwood Bay is also surrounded by mystery and legends. Due to a large number of shipwrecks (now buried under the sand) in the past, ruined Sandwood Bay Cottage bay is the main site for the ghost sightings of drowned sailors and the odd mermaid.
How to get there
From Inverness, follow the A9 north to Tain then take the A836 to Lairg. From there, follow the A838 to Rhiconich and take the B801 to Kinlochbervie, where a minor road continues to Blairmore. Coordinates to the car park: 58°29’27.66″N and 5° 5’58.80″W. Google maps: 58.491017, -5.099667.
Distance: 13km (8.25 miles) round trip, 3 hours
The bay is part of the Sandwood Estate which is run by the John Muir Trust.
The walk starts from the gravel car park at the hamlet of Blairmore. Start by crossing the road and heading through the gate and following the wide track. Pass Loch Aisir and continue following the track over peat moorland. Cross the outflow of Loch na Gainimh and Loch a Mhuilinn, before the coast north to Cape Wrath cliffs come into view. On the final section, pass through two old wooden gateposts before the Sandwood Loch with the ruins of a house comes into view. After passing the ruins the path head down through the dunes and to the beach.
The return walk to Blairmore is by the same path.
Sandwood Bay is my favourite beach in Scotland because of its remoteness, sand dunes, views, and its peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. A coast is also an excellent place for wildlife spotting and a fantastic place to camp.