I West Sands, St Andrews It may be the home of golf but there are other reasons for visiting St Andrews. Only a few minutes from the centre of the town is the start of mile upon mile of impressively clean sand which separates the famous links courses from the sea. The only drawback is the lack of shelter from the ever- present wind but this is put to impressive use by the sand yachts (and occasional kite powered go-karts) which dart at dizzying speeds in all directions. The impressive setting of the beach. distinct from the contained huddle of the town. is currently threatened by plans for a large housing development.

I lunan Bay A huge arc ofclean white sand stretching out from the red castle at Lunan and ending in cliffs at either end. Traditional fishing methods are still carried out here as can been seen from the netsjutting out from the beach. There are caves and an arch which can be explored at the north end of the beach and arrangements can be made with the Sea Horse riding stables to go galloping along the sands.

I Balmedie The whole length of the coast north of Aberdeen right up to Peterhead could almost be described as one great beach with rolling sand dunes in behind. There is easy access at Balmedie which takes you right on to the middle of one of the longest uninterrupted stretches. Further north across the Ythan estuary the sand dunes spread out to form a vast nature reserve which is home to many rare birds.

I Emho About three miles north of Domoch lies the village of Embo and the miles of lovely golden white sands which fringe the coast. Situated in a comer of the country blessed with surprisingly low rainfall. you can walk south along the shore. watching dolphins and seals at play in the water. and pause for a drink in the hosteln'es of Domoch before retracing your steps. There are many ancient buildings in the area well worth a visit including Domoch Cathedral and Skelbo Castle while famous golf courses can be enjoyed further north at Golspie.

14 The List 16—29 July 1993

Photographs!!! mm


I Farr Bay, Bettyhlll [t is hard to choose particular beaches from the surprising beauty of the many bays spread along the north coast. The water may be cold and shelter from the northerly winter wind non-existent but on sunny days the brilliant colours of the sand and the sea lift the spirits dulled by the miles of peat bog which stretch inland. Apart from Dounreay nuclear power station. the coast is completely unspoilt and the beaches often deserted apart from dedicated surfers who travel from all over Britain to ride the waves. Farr Bay is good for catching flounders. has a tunnel to canoe through by the point at low tide and is close to numerous other small coves tucked into the coast between Bettyhill and Tongue. I Balnakell Bay, Ourness The last stretch of sand before the north coast turns into the cliffs of Cape Wrath. You can drive right down to the shore. park beside the ruined chapel and amble down on to the silver sands which stretches in a gentle curve. flanked by sand dunes. out to Farraid Head. From the disused signalling station on the headland there are impressive views along the coast and across bleak. open moorland to the mountains which rise to the south. The sea races out at low tide exposing acres of clean flat sand broken occasionally with clusters of

rocky pools.


I Sandwood Bay, Cape Wrath Follow the road north from Kinlochbervie to Balchrick where you can park and set off on a three-mile walk over the open moor. You start off along a good track but it degenerates into a broken path through the peat bog after about a mile. No doubt somebody in the Tourist Board will be planning to ruin it with a new road and visitor centre. but until then the trek puts the day trippers off which means that when you round the end of the hill and see the bay spread out below. you can often find it deserted. Famed for its isolation. the majestic sweep of golden sand and the spray thrown up as the Atlantic breakers crash on the stack that rises out of the sea by the cliffs to the south. Sandwood Bay is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches irt Britain. I Achlltlbule Just north of Achiltibuie. close to where the road forks is a delightful stretch of sheltered white sand surrounded at the right time of year with a carpet of pinks and other exquisite wild flowers. There are spectacular views all round this part of the coast looking out across the sea and the innumerable rock skerries to the Summer Isles.

I Grulnard Bay The road from Ullapool to lnverewe curves round the bay. The name is best known because of the anthrax experient carried out during the war on the island sitting in the middle of the bay. While this has now thankfully been declared clean. it never posed any threat to the many glorious little beaches set in amongst the rocky outcrops around the bay. Pink sands. sheltered water as clear and colourful as can be dotted with small islands and wild undeveloped coastline stretching away into the distance.

I Sands of Mom, Arisaig Only 6km from Mallaig there

lie a number of easily accessible beaches. The worrying sight of one too many caravan parks shouldn‘t deter the determined beach-bum as the sands stretch for miles and miles. Here the sand is tnore a sunburnt pink colour rather than silver. One of the prime spots as you come from the direction of Mallaig. is the next bay after the estuary. You can park on the road.

I Sanna, Ardnamurchan Just to the north of Ardnamurchan Point the ground dips down to the sea to form a small flat plain fringed with white sandy coves. The long peninsula of Ardnamurchan juts out so far to the west that it almost feels as if you are on an island. While the link with the mainland and the road means that you won‘t be alone on the main beach. it is worth walking a little further from the car park as around the coast there are other bays. chasms gouged out by the sea and gloriOUs views to Rhum. Eigg and Muck across the sea to the north.

I Machrihanish, Mull of Kintyre Situated 10km frotn Campbeltown. Walk north from the village on the main A83 irt the direction of Tarbet. There are 8km of unspoiled. glorious pink-orange sands backed by dunes. The beach is also renowned for its windsurfing. which is practised mostly at the Air Force end.

I luskintyre, Harris On the southern tip of Harris just around from Rodel with its ancient chuch. lie the long sands of Luskintyre. Reproduced on countless postcards and calendars. the view out over the beach has all the classic elements that make up the beauty of Scotland - bare rocks on the mountains. heather-clad slopes dropping down to the silver sands. art archipelago of islands spread out over the sea arid the occasional glimpse of St Kilda on the horizon.

I Traigh aish, Barra In the north of Barra. the island narrows into a thin neck of sand dunes and rnachair where two vast beaches join. ()n the east coast is Traigh Mhor. miles of flat sands rich with cockles which serves as the island's airport at low tide. But far more beautiful is Tarigh Aish on the west coast. where waves a mile wide roll in from the Atlantic. rise up in a glorious are before crashing irt on to the shore.

I The Coral Beaches, Skye A few miles north of Dunvegan are two white sandy bays which stand out in striking contrast to the grey rock of the coast. Situated in the sheltered waters of Dunvegan Loch. the clear turquoise blue sea laps the shore which is made up entirely of broken shells. The castle at Dunvegan is also worth a visit. being the ancestral home of the MacLeods who were the leading patrons of the pibroch the classical pre-Victorian music played on the bagpipe.

I Carnas Fhlonnairlgh, Skye Also known as Camasunary. It is a tiring and tricky walk in to the bay along the steeply banked path from Elgol in the south of Skye but it is worth it in the end. The bay faces due south and is sheltered from the winds by the huge Cuillin ridge which stretches in a long arc round from the west to the north. The Cuillins themselves are best seen by fording the river to the west of the beach and making your way around the cliff path. over the Bad Step (where it is advisable to rope up) and down to Loch Coruisk. On a clear day. the view up to the high peaks which rise vertically from the loch has to be seen to be believed.

I The Singing Sands, Elgg On the northwest coast of this lively and lovely island is the Bay of Laig which looks over a narrow stretch of water to the Olympian mountains of Rhum rising straight from the sea to giddy heights with the peaks often shrouded in clouds. Although the view in itself would be enough to recommend the beach. there is the added mystery of the strange musical sounds which the sands can make when

walked on or rubbed in dry weather. _J