I wrote about the beautiful hike to Sandwood Bay, just south of Cape Wrath on the north west coast of Scotland, for the pursuits section in the FT’s Weekend magazine.
The article can be found here on the FT website, or read on.
August 14, 2010 12:57 am
The walk file: Sandwood Bay, Kinlochbervie
By Cal Flyn
Lying to the south of Cape Wrath, Sandwood Bay stretches for two miles between rocky cliff-faces. Walkers can follow a 4.5-mile track through the empty croftland from a carpark at Blairmore, near Kinlochbervie.
Pass through the gate behind the farmhouse, on your right as you enter the car park. A stony track takes you the first couple of miles, an old peat road leading to the now-overgrown peat banks which criss-cross the moor. The track loops right before dipping to run along the banks of Loch na Gainimh and the smaller Loch a’Mhuilinn, which laps at your feet during the wet months.
Rounding a bend, the pink-gold shoreline comes suddenly into view, vast and windswept. The path drops down through the machair and marram-clad dunes to the sand.
Climb the rocky outcrop of Lewissian gneiss. To your left an imposing sea stack rises from the waves: Am Buachaille, or The Herdsman, a great spire of red sandstone to challenge even the most experienced climber.
Take time to browse the abandoned Sandwood Cottage and the ruined shielings nearby, where families once sheltered with their cattle.
Retrace your steps on the way back, now with the hazy peaks of Stack, Arkle and Foinaven rising in front of you, or follow a well-worn sheep path along the top of the cliffs to the south, before looping back on yourself towards the carpark.
Stop off at Kinlochbervie on your way home at the Fisherman’s Mission, for the freshest fish and chips, or at the Old School House for more civilised fare. But look out for stags, which are apt to bound across your path without warning.
Sandwood carpark at Blairmore, OS ref: NC197603