When you think about a trip to Scotland, you want to get prepared against the rain and the possible bad weather, you are ready to taste as many whiskies as possible in pubs and you are probably seeking for wilderness and hikes in the beautiful nature of Scotland, in the middle of sheep. I think I tackled enough clichés here, I could probably add rugby, kilts, haggis, tweed and highland cows to complete the collection.
Don’t worry my vision of Scotland before my trip was totally the same! But I had the wonderful surprise of discovering an incredible number of gorgeous beaches all along the trip I did through the mainland, the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Lewis and Harris, the Isle of Mull and the Shetland islands. The only drawback I still had to consider is that I was travelling in April so the temperature was around let’s say 8C average (that’s very optimistic!) and the water temperature was probably the same or less. So even though you see a marvelous white sand beach with the sea being tropical blue you can’t even dip a toe in there: that’s rough! Fair enough, even though you can’t swim there, most of the year, I will still give you an insight of some of these beaches you definitely need to go check.
Isle of Mull
Just after Edimbra, I drove to the Isle of Mull. The number of tourists around decreased drastically as I arrived, I was getting closer to the experience I wanted to have about Scotland i.e. experiencing as much nature and wilderness as possible. The first beach I encountered was Calgary bay. After driving along the coast seeing only cliffs you suddenly enter this beautiful bay magnified by a very wild beach encircled by hills. The dream was on and only at its onset.
Isle of Skye
After two days spent on Mull, I then travelled to the most famous island around which is the Isle of Skye. It gave me the chance to visit one of the most famous distillery there which is Talisker distillery and I was not disappointed I learned everything about whisky and had, of course, the opportunity to taste some whiskies at the end of the tour. But enough said with whisky, Skye is also remarkable for lots of other reasons and among these one is the presence of amazing beaches.
The first one I went to was Aird of sleat, to go there you need to hike for around 45 minutes to an hour but it’s completely worth it. Besides, the path is quite easy to follow (which is not often the case in Scotland!) just don’t be afraid to enter the different fields opening the barriers. This path will lead you to a beautiful creek that will give you the impression of being at the end of the world. Trust me, you will have this impression quite often if you travel through Scotland!
The other one I want to talk about here is the Talisker bay which is really close to the distillery. Again, you will have to hike around 20-30 minutes to reach it. But at the arrival you will have a superb view on the cliffs around the beach with some waterfalls coming from the top: stunning!
Isle of Harris
The next island to discover on my list was Harris. When I was preparing the trip, I read that Harris was THE place to go to the beach, that it was definitely where the most beautiful beach where in Scotland. And honestly, I was not disappointed, it’s hard to say that they were the best I’ve seen in Scotalnd but I would definitely recommend go see them. First reason, Harris is a tiny island but it’s filled with beautiful beaches. Second reason, I fell in love with the Isle of Harris, this place is just magical for its landscape, its beaches it’s incredible!
I chose two beaches I’ve been to but there are many more of course! The first one is next to Northton. You will have to walk for probably 30 minutes to reach it but it is a very flat area so that’s quite an easy walk. You can go around the hill and discover the whole coast that is wonderful with these incredible colors on the sea and if you are lucky enough to have the rays of the sun shining through then you can admire the summit of the hill in the middle of this landscape: gorgeous!
The second one is the most popular one: Uig! It’s located at the complete end of the road don’t give up it takes some time to reach it! I had the chance to see the sun shining through the clouds on that day so maybe it enhances the good feeling I have about this beach but it’s still a very beautiful area with a huge white sand beach where you can wander all day long. Just be careful with the tides!
If ever you don’t have the time to go discover the different islands during your trip do not worry you will have a lot of beaches on the mainland too! I personally think that the west coast of the highlands is the most beautiful one and where you have amazingly wild white sand beaches in the middle of nowhere and you are just discovering them one after the other while driving the coast it’s really a magical place to drive.
If I had to choose two beaches to share with you that would definitely be Skinnet beach and Achmelvich. The first one is located almost at the most northern part of the mainland next to Tongue. Drive slowly to see the beginning of the path to go the beach I missed it two times there’s only a tiny sign indicating it! Once again, the discovery of this beach is such a great pleasure. The landscape around is made of hills giving an even more appealing view. This one is just huge, there is plenty of space to walk if you want to stay here all day I would completely understand considering the beauty of the place. Achmelvich is one of the beaches you will find on the west coast when you go south in between Durness and Ullapool. I chose this one because a friend made me discover it and I have to admit that it was worth it another great view to photograph.
I think that I gave you an insight of some beaches you can find in Scotland. I could have talked much more about others like Glenbritlle, Luskentyre, the coastal path of Saint Andrews, Tentsmuir forest, Scarista, Sandwood bay in Kinlochbervie, Achnahaid, Red point, Skaw and Norwick on the Shetland Islands etc. but I wanted to keep some mystery about these wonders that belongs to Scotland. You’ll just have to go discover them by yourself 😉