Approaching the coral beach

Skye is famous for many things, but great beaches are not high on the list. You'll find better ones on Harris, or Tiree, or Uist, or Berneray, or Iona. But there are a few wee gems on Skye, and the Coral Beach at Claigan is one of them. Its combination of accessibility and white sand make it a very attractive option on a warm sunny day.

Here is how to find it...
Take the road north from Dunvegan, past the castle, and follow it to its end at Claigan. There is a small car park at NG231537. From there, take the vehicle track that runs north-west to follow the shoreline of Loch Dunvegan. The start is not promising. There are cattle here who leave their mark - and odour - on the track, and by the shore there is often a lot of ugly flotsam washed up by the tides. After about 1km the track reaches a small sandy beach at Camas Ban. There are two errors that can be made here. One is to assume that this is the destination beach, the other is to keep following the track as it turns right and heads upwards and away from the coast. What you should do at this point is to leave the track, heading onwards through a gap in an old wall and then uphill on short grass. As you reach the top of the slope, the coral beach is laid out ahead of you.

Despite its name, and all these tales of the Gulf Stream, the beach is not made of coral at all. It is actually composed of pieces of dessicated and sun-bleached algae. If you look carefully it is still possible to find some fairly big bits away from where the crowds gather for beach games and barbecues.

The 'coral'

Just offshore is the tidal island of Lampay. If you want to cross and explore it, check the tide times . More rewarding options are to climb the small but prominent hill by the beach, or to continue your walk around the point and into Lovaig Bay. Either of these extensions to the walk will open up wonderful views over the islands in Loch Bay, and beyond.

Claigan beach

 

From the same car park, there is easy access to the Claigan Souterrain.