The beaches in the far north of Scotland are some of the cleanest and most scenic in the country

Reiss Beach - David Graham ScottReiss beach - David Graham ScottWendy SutherlandRabbit Islands - Wendy SutherlandSinclairs Bay - Countryside RangersSandwood bay - Countryside RangersSheigra Beach - Countryside RangersScourie Bay - Countryside RangersReiss - Lisa WellerLisa WellerLisa WellerDunnet Bay - Caithness Biodiversity

The beaches at Dornoch,  Golspie and Brora, are easily accessible to open and surprisingly secluded sandy beaches.  The Links at Dornoch, giving onto one of the most beautiful beaches of the East coast, are famous for their Royal championship golf course. The little village of Embo stands right on the sands with lovely walks either at the water’s edge or along the rolling dunes.

Continuing north from Helmsdale, the coast turns to into the dramatic and beautiful cliffs of East Caithness, which give way eventually to the wide sweep of Sinclairs Bay to the North of Wick, the county town.  At each end of the bay stand the ancient remains of the guardians of this coast, the cliff top castles of Sinclair Girnigoe,  Keiss and  Buchollie a reminder of the rich turbulent history of this remarkable area.

Access is easy from the golf course at Reiss, the villages of Ackergill, Keiss and Freswick.

The beaches of the North Coast are a delight for the beachcomber.  John O’Groats and Murkle yield the little cowrie shells known locally as ”Groatie buckies”.

Dunnet Bay, in the lee of the magnificent red sandstone cliffs of Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on the British mainland, is a dramatic and beautiful bay, its rolling dunes and sands boasting a profusion of coastal flowers in spring and summer.  Visit the Seadrift centre a little to the west of Dunnet village.  This is run by the local ranger service who organise events and walks throughout the year. 

The town of Thurso is another must visit for those pursuing watersport adventures. Known as Scotland’s surfing capital, Thurso’s incredibly fast reef and beach breaks attract world-class surfing competitions and fans from all over the world.

West of Thurso the landscape gives way to a more rugged, wild moorland scene, but the beaches, all evident from the road are some of the most romantically beautiful in Europe. Melvich and Bettyhill,  stand at the outflow of the rivers Halladale and Naver.

For the really adventurous, take the ferry crossing to the Cape Wrath area, the ultimate goal for the beach lover has to be Sandwood Bay.  

Photos on this page by Wendy Sutherland, Lisa Weller, James Gunn, David Graham Scott.

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Venture North Discovery: Laura Morgan

Venture North Discovery: Laura Morgan

Laura Morgan blogs about the far north at She is fascinated by the place names and contour lines on her OS 10 map (but that’s a blog for another time). She writes short stories and is currently published in the spring …


Next Event

Northstone 58 Stonefest

Northstone 58 Stonefest

Booking is now available, press the link to book your place today! The cost for three days is £83.59. For payment by cheque, it is £80 made out to Northstone 58 Stonefest. Post to White Cottage, Greenland Mains, Castletown, Caithness. KW14 8SX There is some discounted accommodation available, direct message us for details. Itinerary Thursday 11th August.booknow-blue Informal Evening Social in Ferry Inn, Scrabster. Friday 12th August 9am meet on site at Thurso Riverside upstream of the main road bridge. Parking is limited. Housekeeping and Health and Safety Briefing. Start building the drystone feature. Size is according to number of people Refreshments at 11am, lunch of soup and sandwiches at 1pm – 1.30 . Refreshments available.all afternoon. Finished by 4.15 pm. Formal welcome and Guest Speaker’s lectures in Caithness Horizons 4.30pm – 6.30pm. Refreshments available. View Pictish Standing stones in foyer. Nonfestival goers admission to Lectures , £4. Informal get together in Popeye’s Bar, Scrabster later. There is bar food, lounge and restaurant there. Saturday 13th 9am. Meet at Riverside. Briefing. Continue building stone feature. Other activities for children adjacent to building area and also displays. Refreshments 11am, Lunch 1pm – 1.30 pm. Refreshments available.all afternoon. Finished by 4.15 Travel to Castlehill Heritage Centre , Castletown. ( Left at the shop. ) . Car share is preferred but there is ample parking available. 4.30 pm. The museum is open, as is the Drystone garden. Tea and sandwiches available. Brief Talk on the history of the Flagstone Works there and the harbour. Tour of stone harbour. Coastal rowing skiffs available for some rowing experience and a view of the outside harbour walls. Return to Thurso after 6.30 pm. . Traditional music open mic night in Popeyes Bar, Scrabster. Local musicians and visitors. Join in ! Sunday 14th 9am meet at riverside . Briefing. Finish feature if necessary . Refreshments available. Move to RSPB Dunnet Head when finished feature. Car sharing is recommended. Ample parking available.