Beaches are great.
Beaches are great. They’re a place to hang out with friends, catch some rays, have a swim, hone your architectural skills or play some sort of bizarre sport that doesn’t really work on proper land such as beach volleyball. However, when posed with the question of which beach is the best in the UK, in some ways these factors don’t really come into the equation.
G-strings & sun seekers
When we think of beaches we think of lying down in the sand, sunbathing, enjoying some glorious sunshine and knowing that if things get too hot we can take a dip in the cool – but not freezing – sea. Unfortunately, the beaches in the UK, certainly in Scotland anyway, don’t offer this sort of enjoyment throughout the year, if at all. That’s why my nomination for the best beach in the UK isn’t intended for those who enjoy lying in the sand wearing nothing but a g-string and a smile; packed liked sardines, everyone tries to make the most of the one day of the year when the temperature rises above 20 degrees. No, in this cold and grey country, beaches need to be enjoyed in a different way.
Therefore, my vote goes to the remotest beach you could find, way up in the north west of Scotland, called Sandwood Bay. Admittedly, there are a number of similar beaches which are probably just as beautiful as this secluded spot, including those on Sanday, Orkney, which boast gorgeous white sand that any Caribbean resort would be jealous of. Not forgetting, Tiree in the Hebrides, a perfect place for windsurfers.
Completely detached from the world
However, Sandwood Bay is my number one simply because it’s one of those places where you feel like you’re completely detached from the world. Getting there involves a trek across some undulating terrain covered with heather, where trees seem to no longer exist. Just when you start to feel like you’re wasting your time, suddenly you see the stretch of empty yellowy-pink sand, with the giant waves of the Atlantic Ocean rolling menacingly in. A stack called Am Buachaille (meaning the herdsman) sits majestically at one end of the beach, overseeing all those who decide to make the journey to the beach. This is a place for sitting; maybe eating a picnic and enjoying the stunning view, where life and all its trials seem to melt away as you watch the waves continuously crash into the shore.
The Perfect UK beach
Depending on the time of visit, you may not get the place entirely to yourself, thanks to modern technology and word of mouth, but it’s guaranteed that it will be far quieter than any major beach along the British coast. And if you fancy staying there for the night to avoid the walk back to civilisation for a day, this is no ordinary beach. There are several legends of ghosts haunting the bay, many of which were victims of shipwrecks which scattered the beach in the past. Many people who have stayed in or near the adjacent bothy have spoken of hearing banging noises outside during the night, apparently caused by a shipwrecked sailor who roams around knocking on the windows. In short, Sandwood Bay is the perfect UK beach. It is secluded and beautiful, and there is no chance of having to worry about getting sand everywhere after a dip in the ocean – it’s far too cold for a start. Plus, this is a beach which has its own ghosts. What more could you possibly want?