North Coast 500 Adventures #1 – Sandwood Bay

A couple of weeks ago, GB and I took a trip, minus children, to Sandwood Bay, near Kinlochbervie.  Sandwood is one of many treasures off the ‘North Coast 500’, recently named by Travel Now magazine as one of the top 5 coastal drives in the world (not bad for a route launched only a few months ago.)

At about 8am on a sunny Saturday, we made our way towards Sandwood – a beach described by many as the most beautiful in the UK. There are probably several contenders for the accolade on this route; however with Sandwood the reward is in the journey – it is inaccessible by road and you will walk a round trip of almost 9 miles to see it. If you’re up for earning your beach view, head north west from Kinlochbervie towards Blairmore, where you will find a car park with toilet block and information stand (don’t forget to leave a donation in the box left there by the John Muir Trust who own and manage Sandwood and the surrounding land).

The path to Sandwood is well maintained and mostly flat, crossing open moorland and passing several small lochs along the way (you may need to use stepping stones at points so walking shoes or boots are certainly advisable). We didn’t meet a soul on the outward journey, but passed several parties on our way back – as with most places, it pays to arrive early if you like the idea of your own private bit of coastline. About an hour into our walk and the beach, and adjacent Sandwood loch were in sight – the view is pretty tantalising to say the least. A final descent over open ground and sand dunes and you’re there. As you can see from the photos it’s certainly worth the walk.

With its golden sand dunes, dramatic cliffs and beautifully clear water, my guess is that on a good day, Sandwood could rival beaches almost anywhere in the world. My tips are to pick a sunny day if you can, allow half a day to enjoy the walk and the beach, and pack a picnic. If you’re travelling on the North Coast 500 any time soon, you won’t want to miss it!