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Life’s a beach

Scotland has undoubtedly some of the most stunning scenery in the world.  With mountains and lochs, rivers and forests there really is nothing like it’s rugged and sometimes savage beauty.  Now this time of year it is quite expected to want to look back to warmer times and none have been more beautiful than this past Summer here in the Highlands.  But come rain or shine, heat or snow, the beaches of Scotland are an absolutely spectacular sight, all year round.  As we reminisce on what was, for most of the Highlands, the best Summer since 1976, we can’t forget that these beaches are truly stunning at any time of the year. 

For us here at Firhall, running the bed and breakfast means there isn’t much time in the season to enjoy the many beaches of the Moray coast line.  It was a lucky day back in July when Stuart and I managed to finish cleaning the rooms quickly enough to grab the dogs, a picnic and a blanket and head the short 50 minutes North to the coast line of the Moray Firth.  Now there are so many breathtaking beaches in this area, but the one that keeps us coming back is Hopeman.  A tiny wee port town with a sandy little beach nestled between rocky outcroppings, Hopeman is the perfect out of the way spot with very few people.  Having lived in Hove, near Brighton before moving to the Highlands, the sight of the adorable beach huts is a warmly familiar one.  However, the view is quite different at Hopeman.  The distant hills and Mountains, the crystal waters and yellow sand all trick you into thinking you are somewhere in the Caribbean.  

It was one of the hottest days of the year and even so in the 3 hours we were there only 7 other people walked past us as the only ones camped out.  This beach has a nostalgic significance  to Stuart’s father who lived in Keith a few miles away and was dropped here with the other village kids for one day each year for their “summer holiday”.  When the sun was about to go down (which in the summer is at around midnight) the bus would return.  It would find a gaggle of happy children shattered after a day of rock pooling, ice-creams, swimming, rounders on the beach and heaps of laughter. We had to grab an ice-cream just like Stuart’s dad and his chums did all those years ago.  We popped into Stew & Drew’s in Hopeman for our delicious ice-cream, only this time we had to share it with a very determined pair of fury kids, giving us their very best puppy eyes.

Scotland is renowned throughout the world for its amazing beaches.  But you wouldn’t expect to be able to find one of these such beauties here in our mountain range, the heart of the Cairngorms National Park now would you?  That is exactly what we have just a few miles from Firhall.  At an elevation of 300 metres ( 984 ft) Loch Morlich has some of the most amazing views in the area and with the ski runs in the background it boasts to be ‘the highest beach in the UK’.  Locals and tourists alike have been flocking to it’s etherial shores this year and for good reason.  In the summer you’ll find waterspouts on it’s still waters and sun seekers on its sandy beach.  Even in the Autumn and Winter you’ll find dog walkers, couples and families taking in the beauty and majesty of this special place.  

The Moray Coastline offers a wild and varied landscape with crystal clear waters and mountainous back drops.  Staying at Firhall Highland Bed and Breakfast you are only an hours drive from some of the most interesting seascapes in Scotland.  The beautiful beaches of Nairn, Findhorn and Lossiemouth are just the beginning.  With awe-inspiring formations such as the Bow Fiddle Rock to see, there are endless mysterious places to explore right here in Moray. And who knows, you may even find the odd surprise beach at Loch Morlich right in the middle of the Cairngorm Mountains next time you stay at Firhall.  

Images by James Montgomery with permission