Discover the Hidden Beauty of Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay, situated on the far northwest coast of Scotland, is considered by many to be one of the country’s most magnificent bays. It boasts a long, wide stretch of pink-tinged sandy beach. Huge sand dunes form an interesting backdrop to the beach which is flanked by majestic cliffs and Am Bauchaille – an impressive tall narrow column of rock (referred to as a sea stack) which has been separated from the mainland by the eroding action of the waves.
Sandwood Bay can only be reached on foot. A parking ground near the town of Blairmore marks the start of the four mile walk along a path that leads visitors to this exquisite bay. The path crosses gently undulating moorland, passing a number of lochs and lochans, eventually rising up behind the cliffs to the west, offering no view of the sea as yet. The path runs between two wooden stakes in the ground just before it reaches the top of a rise which opens up an awe-inspiring view of Sandwood Bay accompanied by the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks. The path then descends fairly steeply to the bay, passing the roofless remains of Sandwood Cottage.
Prior to the building of a lighthouse at Cape Wrath in 1828, numerous ships were wrecked on the treacherous rocks guarding Sandwood Bay. Popular legend has it that the ghost of a mariner used to knock on the windows of Sandwood Cottage on stormy nights. More elaborate versions of the legend claim that the mariner was from an Armada galleon which foundered in the bay losing its treasure which remains buried in the sand dunes. Yet another version claims that the ancient mariner wanders restlessly and endlessly through the dunes. In the light of a sunny day the legends seem to be just unsubstantiated stories, but when the thick gloomy mist rolls in from the sea, washing the sand dunes and cliffs in eerie light, the legends may start taking on an element of credibility.
Despite its exquisite beauty Sandwood Bay is not over-run with tourists, possibly due to the fact that it is not as easily accessible as the more popular tourist destinations in Scotland. To the people who have visited Sandwood Bay, many of them more than once, the experience is worth every step it takes to get there.