Blue Scotland's Guide: The Best Beaches in the Outer Hebrides
Blue Scotland is a guidebook to Scotland's wild Blue Spaces for wild swimming, paddle boarding, surfing, and kayaking. The Outer Hebrides are home to some of the world's most incredible beaches, with white sand, turquoise ocean and often not a soul in sight, you would be forgiven for not believing you are in Scotland. Here are our top five of the best beaches in the Outer Hebrides:
1. Traigh Eais, Barra
At the northern tip of the Isle of Barra, where the land narrows, you will find two glorious Blue Spaces lying back-to-back. On the wild west coast is Traigh Eais, a stunning expanse of golden sand open to the power of the Atlantic Ocean and often surfed. However, it's much more famous sister lies on the east coast, Traigh Mhor or better known as Barra airport beach.
We had arrived at Castle Bay via the CalMac ferry the night before and were greeted with low hanging clouds over the island that refused to shift throughout the following day. However, as we walked through the dunes to reach Traigh Eais the clouds finally began to lift and the Isle of Barra revealed itself to us, masked in glorious golden hour light.
2. Sollas, North Uist
The beach at Sollas is one of the finest on the island of North Uist. This crescent shaped expanse of sand, dunes and open machair faces northwest, looking out to the powerful Atlantic Ocean. Sollas beach is not the easiest to access, it lies about a mile from the nearest road. However, I can promise you that the trek down to the sand is worth it to experience this epic beach.
The sheer size of Sollas totally blew us all away, white shell-sand extended away from us in each direction. Once again, we were the only people in sight, having another glorious Hebridean beach to ourselves. Dozens of orange legged, orange beaked Oyster catchers scattered the beach, clearly enjoying an early dinner.
3. Scarista, Isle of Harris
Scarista beach on the southwest tip of the Isle of Harris is an example of the Outer Hebrides at its finest. Here you will find a backdrop of the rounded mountains of South Harris easing into Machair covered dunes, fine golden sand, clear turquoise water and peeling surfable waves rolling in from the north Atlantic. To Blue Space enthusiasts, Scarista beach is probably the closest place to heaven you will find on a Scottish coastline.
The mile long walk into Scarista couldn't be more worth it, even if you are laden with heavy boards and kit. This humongous sandy stretch sprawls out in front of you, gently descending into a stunning turquoise ocean. Due to its sheer size, even on a busy day, Scarista feels quiet and remote.
4. Traigh Mheilein, Isle of Harris
Traigh Mheilein was everything you could hope for in a Hebridean beach: beautiful, untouched, and isolated. This incredible beach can only be accessed by foot or boat. It is a 40-minute walk from the nearest road at Huisinis, where you can leave you car.
As the path crests the cliff, the bright golden sand of Traigh Mheilein appears in the distance. When we finally descended towards the beach it became clear that the slither of sand, we had seen from the cliff path was only a small sample of what was on offer, as the beach extended round the corner and off into the distance. We had the entire beach to ourselves and were able to look back and see only our footprints whilst we sat and took in the great expanse of mountains, sky, and ocean.
5. Dalmore Beach, Isle of Lewis
Dalmore beach on the north coast of the Isle of Lewis is a stunning sandy expanse, exposed to the wild North-Atlantic Ocean. The beach is flanked by tall cliffs and at the north-east end of the bay these cliffs have eroded into tall sea stacks, precariously balancing as the ocean waves break against them.
Dalmore beach is a brilliant destination for surfers and beach goers a like and on a warm summers day, there is nowhere better to watch the sunset over the ocean.
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