Walk 1318 - printer friendly version
Sandwood Bay Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km
Ascent - 1400 feet / 424 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference NC194600
Lat 58.490671 + Long -5.1001536
Postcode IV27 4RU (approx. location only)
The far northwest of Scotland is wild, scenically beautiful and far from the crowds. Variants of this walk are given in other publications, which make it a popular excursion for the relatively few visitors to the area. This does make the route quite busy on occasions although you can never expect crowds.
The start is the small car park at Blairmore (Grid ref. NC194600) which is reached by leaving the A838 at Rhiconich and following the B801 to Kinlochbervie where you take a right turn for Oldshoremore and continue to Blairmore.
After parking continue west on the road through Balchrick to reach Sheigra. Ignore the left turn and continue through the hamlet. The road reaches a gate and becomes a track (a former peat road) which is followed as it climbs gently northeast with Cnoc Poll a' Mhurain rising on your left. The peat road eventually peters out and at this point you need to cross un-pathed, rough peat moorland to reach the coast. The most satisfactory route seemed to be on the east side of the stream keeping away from the boggier valley bottom. Continue north to reach the remains of a small circular building by a small lochan (Grid ref. NC 193634).
From the western end of this small lochan a clear path rises north onto the cliff tops and this is followed, rather precariously at times all the way to Sandwood Bay. This stretch of coastline is wild with high cliffs of Torridon sandstone with Am Buchaille (a pointed stack) and evidence of other stacks near the headland. Care is needed for many sections of this path as there are some unexpected and significant drops to the seaward side and some erosion. Children need to be under very tight supervision.
The path leads up and down following the cliffs in true coast path walking to eventually provide a view of Sandwood Bay with its great expanse sandy beach and dunes. The path descends across the cliffs to the western end of the beach.
The onward path leaves the beach about one kilometre from the point where you joined it and immediately to the west of a lochan. Once located the path leads uphill past the few remains of Sandwood Farm to pass a number of lochans dotted across the wild moorland. The path is well maintained and becomes track just past Loch a' Mhuillin. Continue along this track to Loch na Gainimh where you need to look out for a shortcut path on your left that follows the shore. (If you miss this path then turn right at the next junction in the track.)
With a final gentle ascent the cottages of Blairmore come into view. On reaching the road turn right and the car park is on your left.