Five fabulous beaches
So far this summer, Scotland has been on its very best behaviour weather-wise, and with all this sunshine, thoughts of dreamy days at the beach are never too far from one’s mind.
You may have seen photographs of Scotland’s pristine and powdery expanses; brilliantly bone-white with not a soul to be seen. Well guess what? You don’t have to venture over to the Hebrides to get your beach fix because there are hundreds of deserted & dreamlike beaches waiting to be discovered along our coastline. From tiny coves to ginormous sandy expanses, there’s a beach out there with your name on it! So, we thought we’d share a little Woodlands inspiration and let you know our top five west coast beaches, all within a 75-minute drive from Woodlands:
We never tire of wandering down the gorse and marram-lined track that leads from the carpark to Camusdarach Beach (pictured above by Kenneth Sands). The best part comes at the end of the path where a scramble up a little sand dune followed by a turn to the left opens up THAT view. The beach is Gaelic for ‘the Bay of Oak Trees’ and is hidden from the road behind ancient woodland and gorse-topped sand dunes. Camusdarach Beach has featured in the 1980s film Local Hero and many adverts over the years.
How to get there: From Fort William, branch off west along the A830 heading towards Mallaig. When you reach the pretty village of Arisaig look out for the signpost ‘alternative coastal road’ and prepare to be dazzled! Drive along the road passing the golf course and continue through dense woodland until the road dips and you see the car park for Camusdarach Beach on your left.
Drive time: 75 minutes
This sensational sandy beach offers incredible views over to the Small Isles. Samalaman Island is accessible at very low tides, but keep an eye on the rising tide as many a person has become stranded by the incoming tide.
This is a fantastic family beach and perfect for nipping up to the Glenuig Inn if you’re in need of some refreshments.
How to get there: From Fort William, branch off west along the A830 heading towards Mallaig. When you reach the Lochailort Inn, turn left and keep driving for ten minutes until you get to gorgeous Glenuig. Turn right towards the Glenuig Inn and keep driving for two minutes until you see a beautiful beach! Hello Samalaman Bay!
Drive time: 75 minutes
This location is one of our favourite spots in the West Highlands. It is an absolutely magical place. At low tide, you can walk over to the ancient ruins of Castle Tioram, which must occupy one of the most glorious positions of all the castles and ruins in the Highlands. Built way back in the 13th Century, Castle Tioram is the ancient fortress of the Macdonalds of Clanranald and was strategically built, where Loch Moidart meets the River Shiel, to control the busy shipping routes from the Southern Hebridean islands and Skye.
How to get there: From Woodlands, head in the direction of Fort William. When you see a turnoff signposted ‘Corran Ferry’ branch left and board the car ferry where a short crossing will see you whizzing your way through glorious countryside passing the villages of Strontian, Salen and Acharacle. After Acharacle, you’ll cross a little stone bridge and just ahead you’ll see a turning on the left signposted ‘Dorlin’. Take this wiggly road all the way down until you get to the car park.
Drive time: 75 minutes
If you’re considering a day trip to Oban on a sunny afternoon, then you absolutely must visit beautiful Ganavan Sands, which is just two miles north of the pretty seaside town. The beach offers spectacular views out across Mull, Morven & Lismore, and can be reached by bus, car or on foot. There’s a super coastal walk / bike path from Ganavan Sands to Dunstaffnage Castle.
How to get there: From Woodlands, head in the direction of Oban. Once you reach the town, take a left along Ganavan Road signposted Ganavan’. Follow the road until you reach the beach.
Drive time: 50 minutes
Just a half hour drive north from Woodlands, this pretty and peaceful bay is well worth a visit. Sheltered from the good old Highland winds and shallow enough for kids to paddle in safety, a trip to Tralee is a super destination for families. The shipwreck of the Breda is located just off shore, so don’t forget your snorkel!
How to get there: From Woodlands, head in the direction of Oban. Once you reach the village of Benderloch, take a right and follow the road until you reach the beach.
Drive time: 30 minutes