Moon setting, Sandwood Bay, Sutherland.
Beaches, like mountains, have names and Sandwood Bay’s is misleading, suggesting something pastoral, tree lined…. Instead it is magnificent.
It is a huge space yet feels enclosed, rather like being inside an amphitheatre. The pink sands open between a maze of dunes behind and the ocean in front. At either side arms of gneiss, one of the oldest rocks in the world embrace the strand. The striation of the cliffs gently echoed by the layered ripples of the wet sand. Cutting through these horizontal planes is the great vertical of Am Buachaille, a 240-foot sea stack the colour of dried blood, which is separated from the shore by a deep channel. Am Buachaille is Gaelic for The Herdsman, standing sentinel over the white foaming waves, like a constantly moving flock.
The beach is a sanctuary of soft sand but this is still wilderness, and a good stage to observe the mysterious passage of the moon and sun. This visit in April was timed to the full moon, capturing a transition, of the seasons, the tide and from night to day. Yet for this moment in the stillness as the moon set it is poised between all of them.