Sutherland Beach One of the Best in the World

Sandwood Bay

Sandwood Bay

Sandwood Bay in Sutherland has been named as one of the best 50 beaches in the world by Travel magazine; and only one of five listed from the UK. The bay is around 5 miles south of Cape Wrath, the mainland’s most north-westerly point, and lies in a very remote part of the country. With no roads leading to the beach you have to travel down a 4 mile track to get to it. The travel guide highlighted Sandwood’s ‘swathe of soft pink sand’, and commented upon its remoteness by adding that the beach is only visited by ‘the most determined Crusoes’.

There are in fact a number of legends connected with Sandwood Bay.

One story tells of a mermaid seen sitting on rocks in the bay in 1900 by a local farmer called Alexander Gunn. It is said that one day in early January he was out walking his Collie along Sandwood Bay when all of a sudden the dog let out a loud howl and recoiled in terror at what it saw. Sitting on a rock protruding out of the sea was a mermaid with greenish-blue eyes, reddish-yellow hair, and was about 7 feet long. Alexander couldn’t believe what he was seeing, nor could he believe the beauty of the creature. To the day he died Alexander Gunn remained adamant that what he saw was real, even though it was never seen since.

A common tale is the sighting of the ghosts of sailors at the beach. One particular ghost is said to have knocked on the windows of a, now disused, bothy on stormy nights. However, it is not surprising that there are stories of such ghosts associated with the Sandwood. Before the lighthouse at Cape Wrath was built in 1828, the bay is said to have been the site of many a shipwreck.

Sandwood Bay is part of the Sandwood Estate, and is looked after by the John Muir Trust.


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One thought on “Sutherland Beach One of the Best in the World

  1. Alison Gunn Chapman

    I was born in Thurso, Caithness in 1963, and moved to the US when I was 28. My sister having married a MacKay from the Tongue area lives very close to Sandwood Bay. Having visited Sutherland many times in my youth and since as an adult I have to agree it is one of the most spectacular beaches I have every seen, although there are many in the area equally as nice.

    Thanks for posting.


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