Wild moment: Nigel Armistead

Published: 8th February 2016

I became a member of the Trust after seeing the good work you do around Sandwood Bay

Being something of a cynic, I was prepared to be disappointed by Sandwood, which features in so many ‘Top Ten’ lists - but it fully justifies the hype. It is just the most perfect bay I have ever seen, by which I mean the whole setting: bay, beach, dunes, lagoon, loch, surrounding hills.

The path from Blairmore was a delight, easy walking past several charming lochs with nice mountain views to the east. Sandwood Bay reveals itself as you round the shoulder of Druim na Buainn.

Once I'd recovered my breath, I didn’t go straight down to the beach, but climbed the green and beckoning cnoc straight ahead. From here you can see Sandwood Bay in all its glory. To the north-west, large dunes back the western end of the beach which abuts the rocky slopes of Druim na Buainn. To the north, the path descends to the beach through smaller dunes and a triangular lagoon intervenes between the beach and Sandwood Loch. On the beach, two rocky outcrops break up the clean sweep of the sand. To the north-east, the lagoon is only just separated from the loch and past more substantial dunes, the loch empties onto the eastern end of the beach. Just beyond, rises a rocky bluff I immediately wanted to climb...The whole coast away as far as Cape Wrath can be seen.

For me, the magnificence of this scene is made by the many facets which contribute to the whole: the loch and valley behind the bay, the lagoon in the midst of the dunes, the various sizes and shapes of the dunes, the pristine beach (kept pristine by volunteers who regularly clean up the usual rubbish dumped from the sea these days) and the view along the coast. All of this can only be seen from a few spots, of which this is one.

From here, I decided to walk down towards the lagoon, go between it and the loch, cross the outflow and climb the rocky bluff, and then return along the beach. It was a truly lovely and memorable walk…

Adapted from Nigel Armistead's website - 'Trails Less Trodden' - which features descriptions of walks from: Isles of Scilly to the Shetlands; Ireland to the East of England (including his two favoutite walks in the Lake District); Iceland to the Faroe Islands and Norway.

Sandwood by Rob Bushby P1010008

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