It turned out that our day could and did get better! The camping spot we'd originally planned on was a few more kilometres up the coast, and given the wind direction we realised that it would be right in the wind. So when a flash of white sand backed by bright green woodland caught our eye at the back of a small bay, we had to take a look.
Landing near low water we found ourselves in an enclosed bay, sheltered from the wind and in full sunshine. A few folk were enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, indicating that the bay was fairly accessible, but it did look very promising as a wild camping spot. Our preference is for fairly remote areas which are little used, but never look a gift horse in the mouth!
As the day visitors started to leave, we pitched our tents, Donny and Douglas pitched on the level turf above the beach itself - where there was even a picnic bench......
Allan and I chose spots in a beautiful wood of birches at the back of the bay which was alive with birdsong. At the time and in the memory, this felt a perfect pitch.
Once we'd pitched up we wandered the bay, just enjoying the sunshine and the location. We came across this lovely piece of beach art which must have taken both patience and real creative talent to produce. Transient and perfect, it would be washed away by the evening's high tide.
Much of the beach was covered in pieces of white "coral" - actually Maerl, a corraline algae which when living is a purplish colour. When they die, the calcereous remains of Maerl are broken and crushed by wave action, then bleached in the sun to form dazzling white "coral" beaches such as this one.
A rare and fragile environment, Maerl beds have comprehensive protection, but are at risk from scallop dredging - one pass by a scallop dredger's bottom gear can destroy a bed which might be hundreds of years old. Loch Carron has some of the best examples of Maerl beds and as a result is protected by designation as a Marine Protected Area (MPA).
In the wood, Primroses were in flower on sunny banks - perhaps my favourite of the early Spring flowers; such a cheery sight at the back of a long winter.
After dinner we wandered over to the edge of the bay and climbed a rocky outcrop to photograph the setting sun - it was a really lovely evening.
Our fire below the Spring tide mark was lit to get going while we took our photographs and brought snacks and drinks down from the tents.
Across the sea, beyond Skye and Raasay, the setting sun slipped down to the horizon to end a truly great day on the water. We sat with a dram by our fire and chatted into a glorious evening.
Note: Since we camped here, the bay and its beach have been featured in a national newspaper and on a well known travel website as "one of the most beautiful and accessible in Scotland". This is undoubtedly going to increase it's popularity and perfect as it is, we will avoid camping here for the foreseeable future in order to go a small way to reducing future pressure.
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