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Beaches on the Small Isles

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

From dramatic cliffs to pristine stretches of sand, the beaches of the Small Isles are varied and beautiful.

  1. Eigg: Island of exploration and dramatic views

Shell or cowrie beach in Galmisdale Bay, close to Eigg’s tearoom and shop, is named after the small pinky brown cowrie shells that can be found by the keen eyed. The sheltered bay is also a great place for a swim, or catching “sports” or razor clams at low tide.

Shell Beach (sometimes referred to as Cowrie beach) near Galmisdale Bay

Follow the road over the island to its north-western shoreline where you can find Laig Bay and the famous Singing Sands beach. Laig Bay, made up of a mix of quartz black basalt and white shells, is perfect for swimming and has a beautiful outlook to Rum.

At low tide it is possible to walk around the shore to the Singing Sands, where the pure quartz sand squeaks (or sings) when you scuff your feet through it when dry. Both beaches are popular with photographers and children alike.

2. Muck: A Beach Lover's Haven

Head to the beach at Gallanach Bay. This is an easy walk with plenty of opportunities to divert including to Port Chreadhain where you can look for seals and terns. Wade through the shallows, go swimming or in the colder months, take a blanket and warm drinks and lie down to watch the night sky spectacle above you. Shell Bay on the north-west of the island is another popular beach so called for the colourful shells that cover the sands.

3. Rum: Where Wilderness Meets the Sea

A designated National Nature Reserve, Rum is a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Its beaches are secluded and wild and often only visible at low tide. Head to the north western coastline to enjoy the natural beauty of Kilmory Bay with its outstanding views to the Skye Cuillin. You may have to share your experience with some of the local red deer population.

4. Canna: A Peaceful Haven

Follow the road from the harbour across to the bridge to Sanday (turning right at the fisherman's shrine) before finding yourself at the unspoilt white sands of Traigh Bhàn. Look for otters or in summertime, enjoy the wildflowers in the fields surrounding the beach. This is a perfect spot to go swimming or snorkelling.

From secluded bays to hidden beaches that only appear at low tide there are so many discoveries to be made and not just through the summer months. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the beaches on the Small Isles is the incredible diversity of wildlife they attract. From playful seals and basking sharks to majestic seabirds and elusive otters, these shores provide a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Embark on wildlife-spotting expeditions throughout the year and be rewarded with mesmerising encounters that will leave you with memories to cherish.

In winter, head out on a hike along the beach as the waves crash nearby. Enjoy the freshness of the crisp air and the sounds of seabirds along the coastline whilst taking in in the mesmerising views.

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