Walk: Sanaigmore Bay - lives lost amidst beautiful beaches

[Port Ghille Greamhair (beach no. 3)]

At end-of-the-road Sanaigmore, close to Islay's north-western extremity, a memorial commemorates 241 Irish emigrants tragically killed when the Exmouth of Newcastle hit rocks just off the coast in 1847. An elongated circuit from the memorial takes in three perfectly contrasting beaches and the irregular coastline in between them. The easternmost beach is shingle but with exquisitely contorted rock bands and pools. Sanaigmore Bay in the middle is a wide open, sandy beach and the most popular (i.e. there might be a few other people there). Port Ghille Greamhair to the west is a secluded cove, hidden until the last minute by vertical cliffs. The ground between them is a little tougher going than might be expected especially if you follow the coastline religiously: think lots of little ups and downs, a few nervous cows and the odd boggy patch.

[Sanaigmore Bay (beach no. 2)]

Name: Walk: Sanaigmore Bay - lives lost amidst beautiful beaches ★★★
Length: 4 km / 2 miles
Ascent: 30 metres
Points of interest: Sanaigmore memorial; beach west of Port Saothair an Daoidh; Sanaigmore Bay; Port Ghille Greamhair
Start / finish: Car park at the memorial and B8018 road end, Sanaigmore, G.R.: NR 236707 ///decays.rainwater.good

Route: Car park & Sanaigmore memorial - Muireach nan Ceann - beach west of Port Saothair an Daoidh - follow coast via Sanaigmore Bay to Port Ghille Greamhair - start
Terrain: Intermittent paths, tracks and pathless sections mostly on short grass, plus shingle and sandy beaches. Short steep, boggy or rough sections.
Wildlife today: Ponies, cows & sheep on inland sections; jellyfish and rock pool life on coastal sections.
Weather today: Sunny, temperature in mid teens.
Anything else? Try to catch the latter two (sandy) beaches at low tide.

[Rock bands and pools at beach no. 1]


Route credit: Walkhighlands

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