Our chalets make an excellent BaseCamp,
because there are so many places to go and things to see.
Therefore many people are making base camp in a central location and having the occasional day trip to see further afield places.
One place which is certainly a must and one I haven’t done since I camped there with my family many many years ago, is Sandwood Bay.
Approximatly 1 – 1.5hrs drive north from the chalets, turning of to Kinlochbervie and carrying on to the Hamlet of Blairmore, where there is a car park and toilets.
Start by crossing the road, heading through the gate and follow the track over peat moorland. As a child we parked near the wee lochs that you pass on the track, these are beautiful in themselves. Unlike the track which is now owned and maintained by the John Muir trust, I remember following meandering paths through what in my memory were big peat cuts but they have either shrung or were a figment of my childhood memories.
All the land crossed on this walk is crofted and dogs should be kept under control so as not to disturb livestock and ground nesting birds.
The cliffs on the coastline north to Cape Wrath appear into view. Passing through two old wooden gateposts for the final section of wider path. Sandwood Loch, a large freshwater loch, now comes into view, with the ruins of a house on the right. It was close to the loch where we used to camp. Local folklore states that the ghost of a shipwrecked mariner used to knock at the window of the house on stormy nights. After passing the ruin the path heads through the massive dunes to the beach itself.
As the bay is exposed to the Atlantic breakers, the bay saw many shipwrecks, although all the remains are now buried under the sand. It was a stunning day this time, totally eliminating memories of legs getting whipped by sand and tents rattling and being battered in the wind. Tales of ghosts, shipwrecks and quicksand vanishing from my mind as I soaked in the most stunning of views in glorious sunshine.
From the beach the huge sea stack, Am Buachaille can be seen at the southern end of the sands. The large sandstone stack, Gaelic for The Herdsman.
The beach is a good place to spot dolphins and other marine mammals. Sadly all I saw was what looked like a bone from a whale washed up on the shore. Local legends tell of a mermaid on the rocks in the bay in 1900. This spooked the local crofter and terrified his dog, the man never changed his story and always remained convinced he had come across a mermaid.
I did dust of my bike for this adventure as it hadn’t seen the light of day for far too long. The path was easy going and mostly flat though one section I did walk and push as the storm drains were a little large for me and my bunny hopping skills are pretty bad. Even walking this is a gentle walk especially on a beauitiful day. If you take your bike it is probably advisable to leave it at the top of the grass drop down to the beach but I was unable to resist the drop down on the bike, even though it would mean a bit of a push back up afterwards.
The route there and back is 8.25 miles and can take anything from 4 hours. As important the drive there and back is beautiful and in itself a wee trip. Think about a basecamp, its definatly worth it…..and you can, like many people, come back again and again using basecamp for different adventures each time.