There’s no doubt that Scotland boasts some fantastic beaches, but for some the beach at Calgary Bay on the western coast of the Isle of Mull is the finest beach in the land – a starched white sand gem fronting crystal-clear water that, but for the weather, could be in the Caribbean. Steep hills sweep up all around and a warm blanket of machair grass backs the sands, forming a dramatic natural amphitheatre.
The imposing house above the bay was a favourite summer retreat of one Colonel James Macleod, a Scotland-loving mountie who founded the western Canadian town of Calgary in homage to his favourite beach at the end of the 19th century. Nowadays Calgary Bay is home to thriving communities of birds, including the odd eagle, and overlooked by the ruins of abandoned houses and stone forts. It has a decent nearby café and there’s a car park behind the dunes, but really it’s a remotely and wildly beautiful spot, with not a hotel or restaurant in sight – although you can camp for free in its so-called “wild camping” area.
We have to admit that it’s not a bad place to wake up – sniffing the sea breeze and then opening your eyes to the enjoy the wonder of the white sands and translucent sea all around.
We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.
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Cool Places is a new website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (coolplaces.co.uk)