Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland

Lights out!

When I wasn’t photographing washed up Spitfire engines I took some other pictures of the beautiful surroundings around Sandwood Bay.

 

Sandwood bay is part of the Sandwood Estate which is owned and managed by the John Muir Trust.

Image of a stream flowing from Loch Sandwood towards the sea through sand dunes. Blue sky and clouds in the sky with hills in the distance.

Looking south east upstream of the fresh water flowing out of Loch Sandwood towards Cranstackie on the horizon.

Image of footprints in wet sand across a long beach. A single person in the mid ground is crossing a stream as it flows into the sea.

Walking across the bay. It was great to have the whole bay to ourselves, at least at this one moment. There were a few other people in the area (we occasionally saw them in the distance) but we somehow managed to avoid each other and maintain that feeling of isolation.

Image of the beach and sea stack at Sandwood Bay, Scotland, UK. Fresh wet sand with cliffs and sea stack beyond waves breaking on the shore.

The beach and the sea stack, Am Buachaille (the Shepherd or the Herdsman) on the horizon.  Am Buachaille was first climbed in 1968 by two of the UK's most influential climbers / mountaineers Tom Patey and Ian Clough. The island off the coast is Am Balg, a rocky islet known for its diverse marine life and a blow hole popular with divers.

Image of sand dunes and grass at Sandwood Bay, Scotland, UK. Clean white sand, blue sky with white clouds and looking toward hills.
Image of sand dunes and grass at Sandwood Bay, Scotland, UK. Clean white sand, blue sky with white clouds and looking toward hills.

The dunes are a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This gives it the highest protection under European law. The area is also a national Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Image of a purple flower of the Common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris). The flower spike three inches erect from prostrate leaves below.
Image of a purple flower of the Common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris).

The grassland away from the dunes is known as Machair which is a Gaelic word meaning low-lying fertile plain. This is a rare and unique habitat created by man over centuries. It's found in the north western fringes of Scotland and Ireland, including Sandwood. The grassland includes 200 different species of plants including 8 orchids. The above is Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris).

Image of the view accross Sandwood Bay at sunset. Beach and sea stack visible in the distance; orange sun just above the horizon.

We stayed long enough to see the sun set and feel the temperature plummet.

Image of Sandwood Bay at sunset. View across the beach with two oil tankers on the horizon travelling North.

Note the oil tankers on the horizon en route around Cape Wrath to Norway or beyond.