Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A soft sand shuffle in "Shoe Bay"

North of Ardtoe, Douglas and I enjoyed some relaxed rockhopping amongst the channels and outcrops of the coastline until we arrived at Eilean Shona.  This steep sided and craggy island fits into the coastline like a ball and socket, separated from Moidart by narrow tidal channels.  

Our target was "Shoe Bay", but you won't find this name on any conventional map!  If you paddle this stretch, look for a flash of white sand below a rocky outcrop. The bay actually has three entrances at half tide or above.

Clear water above a pure white sand makes for wonderful colour in the water even in overcast conditions.  We paddled steadily in to the tiny beach.........

....where the unofficial name becomes instantly obvious.  The fine white sand is incredibly soft even when it has been exposed by an ebb tide.  One's feet sink in to ankle depth or above - a really strange sensation!  Many, many shoes must have been lost on this gorgeous beach...

Douglas and I made our way up the beach to a grassy knoll above, our deep footprints etched in the sand. We celebrated our arrival on Eilean Shona with a first luncheon of coffee, fruit and a small dram of "The Singleton".  The views were amazing, and all the more enjoyable because, during the previous two months, we'd travelled together along all the visible coastline and islands.
"Shoe Bay" is a hard place to leave, and not just because of the soft sand.  It would have been a pleasure to spend several hours here, but our plan was to circumnavigate Eilean Shona, and we were already behind the tidal schedule - it was time to move on.


  1. Picture perfect little beaches, Ian. We found a similar "shoe" beach with the same sand characteristics just south of Mallaig (road access). Must be the most tiny of sand granules! Warm wishes. Duncan.

  2. Hi Duncan,

    There are certainly a few white sand gems on this stretch of coast. This is one of the spots that Douglas and I would like to take you both to paddle in the autumn :o)

    Kind Regards

  3. ...and not only shoes to be found; one of my brand new prescription "sunnies" lenses joins the forlorn but not forgotten debris. Grand paddle 'tho xx