Luskentyre, South Harris
Caribbean looking and beautiful in any weather, though don’t let the turquoise waters deceive you into thinking Barbadian temperatures await. Luskentyre was voted Britain's best beach and disappointing as this might seem, remember that Harris is not exactly the most frequented of islands so teeming with tourists it is not.
Nearest place to grab essentials is Leverburgh which has The Anchorage and the Butty Bus near the harbour. The Butty bus is a retired bus turned tea room.
Nearest place: South Harris
Achnahaird Beach, Wester Ross
The bay at Achnahaird is a north westerly facing inlet of taupe-white sand and a gently ebbing tide. Easily reached from the road via Altandhu and Achiltibuie, it is typical of all the coastline in this north westerly realm, almost unvisited and perennially tranquil.
The former campsite is now closed so it’s wild camping only these days. The nearest campsite is just around the headlands at Altandhu courtesy of Bar Fuaran.
Nearby towns: Achiltibuie, Altandhu, and Ullapool.
Saligo Bay, Islay
The oft-roaring waters are perfect for those seeking a more enveloping experience and make for heart-rending viewing in any weather with each different light providing unique photographic opportunities for budding amateurs.
The bay is accessible through a gate halfway between Machir and Ballinaby farm, west of Loch Gorm. For access, cross the rabbit belittered dune and descend the sandy slopes to reach the beach.
Just north of Saligo Bay is a distinct rock formation known as the Sleeping Giant.
Nearest places: Port Charlotte and Rinns of Islay, Port Ellen
Less frequented than its much-vaunted cousin (Luskentyre) further up the coast, but arguably as beautiful.
Be sure to check out the Harris Tweed Shop, a deserved ‘I saw you coming’er.
Scarista House offers a warm hearth to windswept itinerants… romantic weekend away, you’re welcome.
Nearest place: South Harris
Sanna Beach, Ardnamurchan Peninsula
Stunning sandy beaches adorn the tip of the remote reaches of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. It's a trek, but a rewarding one and not one that many take on. If you can smell what you could only imagine to be a herd of stilton cheeses in rut, that’s just the pong of the long-horned feral goat (capra hircus), and given their indigeneity you’ll know you’re in the right place. People have said of these shaggy-haired wild billies, ‘the stench is so pungent it will stay with you for weeks’.
Nearest place: Ardnamurchan
Sandwood Bay Beach, Sutherland
Fine, so we’ve gone for 6. Sandwood Bay is possibly the best beach in all of these fair Isles and rarely more than deserted given trickiness of access.
For the storm watchers among us, the magnificent mile-long strip not infrequently absorbs a North Atlantic thumping.
Thankfully, the beach is enshrined in trust, so future generations can continue to enjoy it utterly unspoiled.
Nearest place: Kinlochbervie