Sandwood Bay Walk

Difficulty
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Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
13.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
150 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Sandwood Bay Walk

The Sandwood Bay Walk may be slightly long, but the lower elevation gain makes for a fantastic adventure for families! After walking along desolate moorland, the unspoiled Sandwood Bay will wash these average views away with its golden sand contrasted with the shimmering seascape, sea stack, and cliffs. Look out for marine animals while resting on the beach!

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Route Description for Sandwood Bay Walk

The Sandwood Bay Walk in the Highlands makes for a fun adventure for the whole family! En route to the spotless seascape, you’ll travel through moorland, which isn’t the most exciting scenery, but hey, you’ll soon reach the incredible Sandwood Bay and forget all about the desolated walk out. It’s also advised not to swim at Sandwood Bay as the undertow can be quite strong—kids should definitely avoid taking a dip here. Another thing to note is that you will have to cross some streams, but this shouldn’t be a problem unless it’s extremely wet out. The path also takes along some undulations, so despite its low elevation gain, your heart rate will still increase!

Yet, this is a popular surfing spot, so you may get spoiled with some entertainment while you’re relaxing on the beach. Sandwood Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Britain, thanks to the dunes, a massive sea stack, and cliffs flanking the golden sand and glistening waters. There’s also a freshwater loch nearby! It’s fun to explore the area and revel in the scenery when you’re here—even if your kids can’t go swimming in the sea.

To reach Sandwood Bay requires some walking! First, you’ll cross the road from the car park to go through a gate leading you onto a wide track. Next, you’ll pass Loch Aisir as you continue along the undulating path through desolate moorland. Eventually, you’ll wander across the outflow of Loch na Gainimh before reaching a track on your left, which you can use as a quick shortcut. Soon, you’ll approach Loch a Mhuilinn, where you can step on stones to cross a second outflow. After this, the path narrows and winds over a rise, where you can see the cliffs soaring along the coastline emerge into view.

The path then gets smaller after meandering through two gate posts! Look for Sandwood Loch and the ruins of an abandoned home. Old tales share that a shipwrecked sailors’ ghost haunts the house during thunderstorms by knocking on the windows. After the house, you’ll veer left to walk through the dunes towards the beach. When you reach the lagoon, you’ll fall in love with the intoxicating scenery, woven together by a giant sea stack, Gaelic for The Herdsman, a sandstone stack, cliffs, and sea waves colliding with the golden sand. It’s truly a stunning picture!

After spending time in the sand, gazing at the seascape in hopes of seeing dolphins, you’ll pack your things and retrace your steps back to the car park.

It’s important to note that the land in this area is kept pristine by the John Muir Trust, an organization that keeps wild places—wild (and clean!). You can donate to the John Muir Trust through a donation box at the car park.

Trail Highlights

Sandwood Bay

Sandwood Bay is not only one of the prettiest beaches in Britain, but it’s also a novel packed with pages of history and folklore. Firstly, Sandwood Bay became a magnet for shipwrecks, which have all sunken deep under the sand by now, so the Cape Wrath lighthouse was constructed in 1828 to work as a warning system! And in 1900, a man claimed he witnessed a beautiful mermaid lounging on the rocks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sandwood Bay dog-friendly?

Yes! However, your dog should stay on a leash to limit interactions with birds nesting on the ground and livestock.

Can I wild camp at Sandwood Bay?

Yes! You can wild camp at Sandwood Bay. Talk about an epic place to set up a tent for the night.

How long does it take to walk to Sandwood Bay?

Expect to walk for around two hours before reaching Sandwood Bay. Overall, the round trip can take around four to five hours.

Insider Hints for Sandwood Bay Walk

  • The car park has toilets!
  • If you bring your kids, don’t let them go swimming in the sea as the undertow can be quite strong. It’s best to avoid swimming altogether.
  • If you bring your dog, keep it on a leash.

Getting to the Sandwood Bay Walk Trailhead

To get to the Sandwood Bay Walk, head to Blairmore car park near Balchrik (58°29'38.0"N 5°05'42.7"W). The car park is across from Loch Aisir.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Wild camping

  • When to do

    May-September

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Sandwood Bay Walk Elevation Graph

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