Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Beaches of Sanday: Doun Helzie

Of all the beaches on Sanday, Doun Helzie is the one I liked best. ESE facing, we arrived in a stiff NW breeze and lay our backs against the dunes, completely sheltered from the wind, the shallow sea barely lapping the beach.


To the north, seaweedy ribs of rock burst through the sands, holding rockpools ripe for investigation by young beachcombers.

Rock ribs:

To the south, the beach is bordered by low cliffs, punctured clean through by caves.

In the caves:

Fulmars and oystercatchers were everywhere, wondering who was trespassing on their beach, and we picnicked and watched terns fishing just offshore.

Fulmars nesting:

We spent several hours at Doun Helzie, and didn't see another soul. Doun Helzie is the perfect family beach - though be aware that the base of the cliffs is inaccessible at high tide.

Stove Bay:

A great walk can be had at Doun Helzie, across to Stove Bay and the west side of Spurness, up to Braeswick and back or - if time and energy levels permit - as far as Pool and back over The Wart, at 65m the high point of Sanday. The western side of Spurness consists of low, rocky cliffs, the clifftops full of wildflowers and rabbits. A bull and his ladies shambled over to stare at us. A cormorant, drying its wings in a sudden cleft in the rocks was uncomfortable with our presence and we moved on. I watched a lone gannet fishing and a short eared owl hunting, the tide running between here and the bleak shores of Calfsound, and thought of Vikings.


coastkid said...

Nice post of words and pictures of a lovely coast i would like to visit one day, thanks for sharing...


blueskyscotland said...

Looks like you got perfect weather for your trip.