Life’s a peach on our favourite beach

Our coastal & marine team see a lot of Scottish beaches. So with summer approaching fast we thought we’d ask a few of them to tell us about their personal favourite. Today we hear from Rona and Glen, and we’ll share a few more in our post on Monday.

Bagh Bhatasaigh – Rona Sinclair, Marine Data Officer

Vatersay Bay is a beautiful white shell sandy beach at the tip of the Western Isles of Scotland. Reaching this place after a windy, sunny, and rainy cycle trip down the Hebrides from the Butt of Lewis for the first time felt euphoric.

Vatersay, Outer Hebrides, Western Isles.©Lorne Gill

Bagh Bhatasaigh – Vatersay Bay, (C) SNH

Its rich and diverse machair grasses and wide expanse of sand dunes provided the perfect sheltered and peaceful spot to pitch our little green tent and soak up the afternoon sunshine. Bagh Bhatasaigh has since marked the finale of every Western Isles cycle trip, each time its crystal clear turquoise waters reminding me how unique and special this unspoiled natural coastal environment is to Scotland.


Vatersay Bay machair, (C) SNH

Traigh nan Siolag, Isle of Coll – Glen Tyler, Marine Ornithologist

A beach at the west end of Coll. Standing on this beach you can look beyond the isle of Gunna across blue waters to Tiree.

© Getmapping plc 2018

© Getmapping plc 2018

After a summer of studying corncrakes day and night in the croft lands of Coll, on as fine a later summer day as you can imagine I took a walk with my love to the very end of Coll. There on the white sand, which it seemed no other human had set foot on for a thousand years, and none would for a thousand years more, was a strandline of cowrie shells, so thick that you could scoop up a handful just like that. It is a magical place.


View northwestwards from just above the beach. In the middle distance, at the end of the small spit of sand, is the tiny tidal islet Eilean an Fheoir. eswales / Traigh nan Siolag, Coll / CC BY-SA 2.0

I’ve never been back, in my memory it is pristine. Small waves sparkled as they rose up gently and collapsed at the shoreline which stretched away in a beautiful arc, behind the beach  a protective cushion of flower rich dunes. Common seals interrupted their sunbathing or their treasure hunts among the skerries to peer, consumed by curiosity, at our intrusion into their lives. Offshore to the south, the black sails of basking shark fins tacked back and forth with false menace as their bearers gathered  sweet plankton from the clear, cool water. Hopefully it still is as I remember it. The handful of cowrie shells I gathered that day look much the same.

Northern cowrie and Spotted cowrie -SNH

Northern cowrie and Spotted cowrie

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