10 Argyll beaches you'll want to walk along even in winter!

Some of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches are to be found along the coastline of Argyll & the Isles. From sheltered bays with shallow water and turquoise water to long stretches of sand pounded by Atlantic rollers, there are some truly beautiful beaches to discover in Argyll. Many are backed by rugged mountains and ancient oak forests, making for stunning beach walks, whatever the season. So wrap up, pack a flask and take a walk along these Argyll beaches this winter.

1.Calgary Bay
This beautiful stretch of sand on the north-west corner of the island of Mull has to be seen to be believed. It’s pure paradise and backed by an ancient forest complete with a castle. The beach is easily accessible, with parking and public toilets, but feels wild and remote and is a great place to spot wildlife. Stroll to the north end of the beach to see a stone pier originally built to allow puffers to bring supplies to and from the area. After your walk head to Calgary Farmhouse, home to a fantastic café and art gallery, for a hot drink.

2. Carradale Bay
Over on the east coast of Kintyre you’ll find this stunning huge sandy south-facing beach. At low tide a vast expanse of sand is revealed, making it perfect for a winter stomp. The view over the Kilbrannan Sound to Arran is stunning. Head to the western end of the beach where you’ll find the mouth of the River Carradale, as well as the Carradale Bay Holiday Park overlooking the beach. If you need refreshments, the village is about half a mile from the beach, oferring a few hotels and shops.

3. Ettrick Bay
This is Bute’s finest beach, sitting at the north of the island. It’s a lovely long stretch of golden sand. The facilities are great, with car parking, toilets, picnic areas and a children’s play area. At the start of the beach Ettrick Bay Tearoom serves up mouth-watering cakes. To really work up an appetite, why not walk the Tramway Route from Port Bannatyne to Ettrick Bay? Or you could walk to the bird hide at the south end of the bay. Ettrick Bay Stone Circle, which is found further up the valley, is also worth seeking out.

4. Scalpsie Bay
This is another lovely bay on Bute's west coast. It’s a beautiful, secluded stretch of reddish sand, but the big attraction during the winter is the colony of seals that live here.

5. Machir Bay
Sandy bays are dotted all around the coastline of Islay, but the best beach is found on the isolated north-west coast. Machir Bay is a two-mile long golden bay, backed by huge white sand dunes. It’s a fabulous place for a winter walk. On the south end of the bay is a track going up the cliffs to Kilchiaran Bay, passing Dun Chroisprig, an Iron Age Fort.

6. Ostel Bay
This crescent-shaped sweep of sand is the jewel in the crown of Argyll’s Secret Coast, an undiscovered area on the Cowal peninsula. Cycle in or park your car in a layby, and then it’s a fifteen-minute walk to the beach. Walk over the dunes and the beach stretches out ahead of you with Arran on the horizon.

7. Westport Beach
Head south from Tarbert towards Campbeltown and you'll reach one of the best beaches on the west coast of Scotland. Stretching for over six miles to Machrihanish, Westport Beach is a favourite all year round. If you want to walk along miles of unbroken sand, Westport Beach should be top of your list!

8. Kiloran Bay
The tiny island of Colonsay is famed for it’s wonderful sandy beaches and Kiloran Bay is its finest. The sweep of bleached-white sand, broken only by occasional jagged rocks, is fringed by undulating green hills. The weather can change the mood of the place, from benign and gentle to wild and unsettled with huge breakers crashing in from the Atlantic. Take a short walk up Carnan Eoin for views over the beach to Jura.

9. Ardentinny Beach
This sandy bay is one of the best beaches in Cowal. It’s a brilliant winter picnic spot, with free parking, toilets and picnic tables. Ardentinny is part of the Argyll Forest Park. So after you’ve strolled along the beach, why not follow some of the forest trails? The Riverside Trail is an easy, fairly level route by the water.

10. Balephetrish Bay
On Tiree there are miles of fine white sands fringing the island. One of the loveliest is Balephetrish Bay on the north coast of the island. It’s a two-mile arc of sand where you can watch waders feeding in the breakers and look out to Skye. One mile to the east you can find The Ringing Stone, a glacial boulder decorated with prehistoric markings. Hit it with a stone and it makes a mysterious ringing sound.

Find out more about beaches in Argyll & The Isles.