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Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay


Postby Lottie » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:20 am

Route description: Sandwood Bay

Date walked: 23/08/2010

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Having read the previous reports (and looked at the beautiful accompanying photos) of this walk, I was really looking forward to it.

The start wasn’t great. The wind was pretty strong and small flecks of rain were being blown straight into my face. However, within 10 minutes the wind had died down and the rain abated. Hurray!

The walk to the Bay is not particularly inspiring. In fact, I would call it a ‘trudge’ rather than a walk. The track itself is good, if perhaps a little boggy in places and over-worn in others. However, in spite of the pretty little tarns along the route, it is all rather monotonous. Maybe it was the slate grey skies that made it seem this way. If the weather had been a little more clement, with the odd ray of sunshine, it might have been a pleasant stroll rather than a slog!

A trudge.JPG

There were a couple of highlights en route. I met a flock of sheep which seemed intent on forcing me off of the trail. I know this is going to sound stupid, but for a couple of seconds they actually looked quite intimidating heading towards me. Really! They soon turned tail and fled off into the heather though (phew!) closely followed by a sheepdog and a whistling shepherd/farmer in his 4x4 (windows down so the dog could hear the whistles!)

Sheep on the rampage.JPG

I spotted a little boat alongside Loch na Gainimh, and I guess that it’s used for fishing. The track leads around the edge of Loch a’ Mhuilinn, and I really liked the lovely red sand around its banks.

Loch na Gainimh .JPG

Loch a Mhuilinn.JPG

When I arrived at the Bay I decided not to head down through the dunes to the beach. Instead I headed right and skirted around some crags towards Sandwood Loch. I eventually came down on the banks of the Loch and walked a little way along. Up behind me I could see the ruins of an old cottage (also visible from the top). Visually, it must have been a very impressive place to live.

Heading to the loch.JPG

The Loch banks.JPG

Loch Sandwood.JPG

Ruined building.JPG

Ruined building above loch.JPG

I then headed back to the Bay along the loch side. There was a lot of ‘froth’ on the banks of the loch. Does anyone know what this is? It can’t be pollution, can it?

Frothy stuff.JPG

The place where the loch flows across the beach into the sea is interesting. There are lots of beautifully rounded boulders (too large to be pebbles) and the water is a lovely deep reddish-brown colour.

Boulders.JPG

Red-brown river.JPG

I then followed the river until it entered the sea, and carried on along the beach in a south-westerly direction until the stack (The Herdsman?) disappeared from sight.

Patterns on sand.JPG

The stack.JPG

I think the saddest part of my day was climbing back up through the dunes to find the remnants of someone’s wild camp. There was a lot of stuff there - probably left by someone who had intended to return (tent, ropes, chairs, plastic tubs etc) but now looking weather-beaten and broken. I hope ‘they’ do return to remove their debris!

Debris.JPG

And then the trudge back to the car!

Almost back.JPG

I think Sandwood Bay is really rather magical. I only saw 4 other people on the beach whilst I was there, and I liked the fact that it felt very isolated. I passed a few people during my walk there, and a few more on my way back, so it is quite well-frequented, even on grey days. I guess it would be busier on a sunnier day – and maybe it would be more visually pleasing, but without the same feeling of isolation. I hope I’ll have the chance to go back one day (in the sunshine!)
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby kevsbald » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:43 am

You paint a pretty pic. Nice report.
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby fedupofuserids » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:22 pm

Sandwood Bay was in an article in the Daily Telegraph's Travel section at the weekend, not sure if this may draw a few more people.
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby HighlandSC » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:38 am

Nice report, always good to see Sandwood. It's fantastic no matter the weather.....but get a good day and it's certainly a bit more special - we got quite lucky....
Image


I think the froth in the lochs may be something to do with salt in the water...but hopefully someone can confirm!
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby Michelle » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:29 pm

That foamy stuff is usually not pollution. It's all quite natural, caused by organic matter- plants, algae etc- as they decompose they release something which reduces the surface tension of the water, and as wind creates waves on the water it allows lots of air to mix in at the surface and lots of tiny air bubbles form... the "froth". Then the wind will push the froth into bands, or to line the edges of the water. It's been a while since I've read the explanation, but I believe that's it :lol:
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby Lottie » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:35 pm

Michelle: Thanks for the info. I didn't think it was possible for it to be pollution, but these days you never know -sadly.

HighlandSC: Lovely photo - are those your footprints in the sand? It's a beautiful, sunny day today :D but alas I am on my way south :( Ah well, next time.
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby HighlandSC » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:39 pm

Lottie wrote:are those your footprints in the sand?

Good question! I'm sure a lot of them were, possibly them all?, we did stop right at that spot for lunch. But there seems to be loads!
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby CurlyWurly » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:39 pm

Nice report, we where on Sandwood Bay a couple of weeks back and it was sunny but I kind of like your pictures, all dark and moody. Good stuff!!
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Re: Steel grey skies at Sandwood Bay

Postby Michelle » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:47 pm

I like the moody photos as well. I don't think the weather ever gets "bad" at Sandwood... just more "atmospheric" :lol:
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