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The Coast

Aberlady Beach Achiltibuie Boatman's Bothy Boat and Forth Rail Bridge Evening at Tarbert West Coast Poppies Embleton Beach Achnahaird Beach Forth Road Bridge at Dusk Tobermory Puffin Resting
 Harbour on the Antrim Coast  Mist at Forth Road Bridge  Tug and Forth Rail Bridge  Puffin on Cliff  Listen to Me!
Aberlady Beach Aberlady Beach
Aberlady, East Lothian. This stretch of the Forth estuary has a string of expansive beaches. This midsummer sunset catches the sense of space, looking across the water to the Lomond Hills in Fife.

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Achiltibuie Boatman's Bothy Achiltibuie Boatman's Bothy
Achiltibuie, Wester Ross. In an area where many of necessity have more than one job, fishing comes well up the list. Local hotels and restaurants are among the fishermen's customers. Nearby is the No. 192 Bed and Breakfast, have a look at http://achiltibuie.net/192/.

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Boat and Forth Rail Bridge Boat and Forth Rail Bridge
From South Queensferry Harbour. A fine evening in the spring saw mist obscuring part of this always impressive structure. The proximity of the yacht on the quay suggests the bridge is farther away than it really is.

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Evening at Tarbert Evening at Tarbert
Tarbert, Argyll. The green of the hillside opposite is reflected here in the sea at the harbour entrance. It is so nearly calm that smoke from two chimneys a short distance apart is blowing in opposite directions.

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West Coast Poppies West Coast Poppies
Gairloch, Wester Ross. The west coast of Scotland is often grey, but that can add to the atmosphere and moodiness. These early July poppies looked out over the sea to Skye in the background. For accomodation at Gairloch the Old Inn really works: www.theoldinn.net. Their website even has the sound of the sea breaking on the shore...

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Embleton Beach Embleton Beach
The coast between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed boasts a string of lovely beaches, some with castles close by. Here the ruins of Dunstandburgh Castle can be seen in the distance. We had a great few days on an autumn deal at the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel, www.dunstanburghcastlehotel.co.uk, within easy walking distance of the beach. They do winter deals, too.

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Achnahaird Beach Achnahaird Beach
Wester Ross. Any tour of the North-west Highlands should include a visit to this idyllic beach, about three miles before Achiltibuie. It’s usually all but deserted, and is protected from the Atlantic swell by a point just to the north.

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Forth Road Bridge at Dusk Forth Road Bridge at Dusk
This famous structure, which when it opened in 1964 was the longest suspension bridge outside the USA, is silhouetted by the brightness of the western sky shortly after sunset. The trees beside the road down into North Queensferry provide an arch of branches above.

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Tobermory Tobermory
Isle of Mull. Well known as 'Balamory' in the BBC children's series, Tobermory Bay is reputedly the location of a sunken Spanish galleon, complete with millions of gold coins, but this is yet to be found. What you will find, though, is excellent fish and chips at the mobile van to the left of the picture.

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Puffin Resting Puffin Resting
Treshnish Isles, Argyll. If you happen to be anywhere near Oban during the puffin nesting season, do try to go and see these puffins. This was our best day out ever! No competition! We went with Staffa Tours, booking the trip at the West Coast Tours office by Oban Harbour. You go across to Mull on the regular ferry, then by bus to Tobermory, then with Staffa Tours to Fingal's Cave (which was also great) and the Treshnish Isles.

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Harbour on the Antrim Coast Harbour on the Antrim Coast
Cushendun, Co. Antrim. The Antrim coast road is rightly regarded as a very pretty drive, and Cushendun harbour is well worth a stop. There is a good beach, too. There's an excellent self-catering apartment bang on the sea front at Cushendun's larger sister village Cushendall: http://www.theseaviewapartment.com/.

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Mist at Forth Road Bridge Mist at Forth Road Bridge
The east coast of Scotland is well known for its sea mist, known locally as haar, and it is not unusual for it to affect the Forth estuary, especially in the spring. The Forth bridges are always impressive, but the haar, when it is not too extensive, definitely adds something.

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Tug and Forth Rail Bridge Tug and Forth Rail Bridge
This world-famous structure never fails to impress, day or night. It’s enormous and the more impressive when one considers that it was built during the reign of Queen Victoria. On the south side, in South Queensferry, are several eateries with spectacular views of the bridges, and on the whole the food's good, too. Alternatively the chippy is fine and there's more atmosphere to the place if one stays outside.

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Puffin on Cliff Puffin on Cliff
Treshnish Isles, Argyll. I find it amazing that these really quite small birds spend most of their lives at sea, only coming ashore to breed in the spring and early summer. Most of the puffins we saw were digging their nesting burrows on fairly level ground, so whether this chap was trying to burrow into the cliff I'm not sure.

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Listen to Me! Listen to Me!
Treshnish Isles, Argyll. The puffins lived up to their reputation as characterful and this one was no exception. It was remarkable how close they would let one come. About 1.5m/5 feet was ok, then they would back away. The colours of their beaks were great, they would have so much less visual impact without this!

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