Oldshoremore’s Beaches and a Seafood Lunch

The first beach beside the car park
The first beach beside the car park

It’s a minute’s stroll from the car park to the magnificent stretch of sand at Oldshoremore. The beautiful sands were still quiet at 11am on a sunny, breezy, showery morning in late May – the weather pattern we’d had for some time.It’s a popular place with families and gets busy on a hot , sunny day as access is so easy. Yet only 20 mins or so away is an equally gorgeous stretch of sand, well worth the extra minor effort.

We strolled across the huge creamy beach, lapped by gently crashing surf and headed for a point in the drystane dyke on the higher grassy slopes where you can cross easily.

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Oldshoremore
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The ‘secret’ beach

This takes you into a Lewisian Gneiss landscape of rock outcrops and grassy hollows with little tracks heading off here there and everywhere.There is a high point with a cairn, giving a superb view over the whole area, but my eye had caught the deep turquoise waters of the ‘secret’ beach and a new beach find always beckons!

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It was a minor scramble down onto the empty sands, overlooked by orange – pink rocks and emerald grass.What a spot!

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Towards Handa Island and Scourie Bay

Ben Stack was visible on the horizon, a perfect blue cone.

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Ben Stack across the crashing ocean

These are magnifcent stretches of sand,  standing comparison with Sandwood Bay. Not with the same wild character and their sands are creamy white not pink , but they are stunningly beautiful, with typical Assynt headlands.

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I find it so hard to leave these beaches – we never saw a soul on this one.But hunger pangs were beginning and where better to satisfy those than at the The Shorehouse, sitting halfway along a winding, twisting,typically Assynt coastal road.

By 1.45pm we were strolling up the restaurant’s garden, overlooking the jetty, the starting point for a trip to Handa Island.

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The Shorehouse restaurant, Tarbet

It’s a gem of a spot, perfect in the sunshine which had finally broken through! We sat out on the wooden decking, a seafood platter to share on order, sheltered from the cold breeze and all seemed very right with the world. Handa itself sat serenely across a glittering sea.

The platter (£20) was good if a little unexciting with (just ) 4 langoustines, dressed crab, marinated herring, smoked mackerel and smoked salmon. Mussels and crab claws would have made it more memorable and better value ; I always feel you can buy the fishy stuff fairly cheaply just about everywhere. Lots of nice salad  which deserved a good homemade dressing but you had to add your own dressing of oil/vinegar from bottles. A bowl of buttery boiled tatties arrived too.

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We’d certainly visit it again as the location is unbeatable. Seafood costs so much for what you get in MOST places, but to share, for a light lunch, it was ok. A treat. We were headed now for Stoer and, after 3 nights wild camping near Durness, a comfy bed in a B&B. Just as well, as the forecast overnight was rain and high winds! I could have put a bet on that (it turned out to be one of the coldest wettest May/June on record).

But there was still plenty incredible scenery to drink in and enjoy en route. The whole area is just a feast for the eyes.

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The wider area is known as Am Parbh – Old Norse meaning ‘the turning point’. Apt, given how close Cape Wrath is.
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Loch Stack and Arkle

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