As part of my Freelance Journalism and Travel Writing course, I’m frequently tasked with writing assignments. I’ll be sharing these on my blog as it would be a shame for these not to be shared! 🙂
The sandy beach stretched out for half a mile in each direction as the waves crashed against the rocky shore. The crystal blue sea shimmered in the glaring sun, attempting to entice us into its chilly waters. Scotland isn’t what I’d expected it to be.
Starting the day, I felt hungover from the activities of the previous six days touring the north coast of Scotland. Castle ruins, steps leading down to beautiful coves and lighthouses designed by innovative architects had been my tipples of choice. Today was going to change my focus from human to divine design with a hike to Sandwood Bay Beach, thought to be the most isolated beach in the UK.
Hoisting my pack onto my shoulders, I adjusted my straps and took the first steps towards the beachy oasis. The path is well marked as the natural Scottish landscape of peat and heather is near impossible to pass through. Bunches of heather lain underneath rocky track is lain to enable easier passage for walkers. On either side of the path, the wildlife thrived in its native habitat, building dens, burrowing in peat and breeding in small pools of water.
After passing three lochs and regularly checking my OS Map app on my phone, I paused to top up on essentials. Water, snacks, suncream and bug spray.
I continued on the undulating path, eager to catch sight in the distance of my final destination. As it was late afternoon, others I passed varied in attire as they plodded back to their cars. Some fully kitted, clad in hiking socks, poles and waterproof map cases; others in flip flops with beach umbrellas and coolboxes, their faces regretting the decision to lug this kit four miles into the wilderness.
Finally, I reached the top of the final hill and, to my left, saw the reflection of the sun rippling in the azure sea. A small shell of a building was ahead of me, the infamous Sandwood House, supposedly haunted by ghosts of previous owners.
The ground underneath my feet changed with each step, becoming a little less solid and slightly more grainy. I reached the sand dunes and rounded a corner coming face to face with a sheep. Edging slowly around the unmovable animal and through some grass, the landscape suddenly opened, and I was at the edge of the earth.
Resisting the urge to run full pelt into the refreshing sea, I pulled my bag from my back and erected the small tent at the edge of the dunes. I glanced down the beach and saw just two other tents, no sign of their owners, and wandered towards the ocean.
The sound and smell of the sea crashed into my senses like the waves hitting the shore. I looked back to saw a figure emerge from one of the other tents and extended my arm into a jovial greeting. I plonked myself down on the golden, sandy floor, cracked open and beer and toasted to tomorrow’s walk home.