Another day and another great two hour walk and this time it was on the Big strand, seven miles of beautiful sandy beach, the longest stretch of beach on Islay.
The most common places to access the beach are at Kintra and directly north of the airport but there is another track to the beach, somewhat hidden and not so well known. This track starts from the low road and it not signposted so it's a bit harder to find. If you come from Port Ellen on the low road (A846) you have to pass the airport. A few miles further down the road, before a slight bend, you see a wee pine forest in the distance and some buildings on both sides of the road. Right before these buildings is a wee track on your left (see map), it belongs to Laggan Estate. Continue on the track keeping left at first and pass a few gates, make sure to close them again, and keep on driving until you see a wee parking space on your left after half a mile or so. From here you can continue on foot and walk over the dunes to the beach.
The dunes are a habitat for rabbits and birds, we have seen and heard quite a few Larks. When you enter the beach you are most likely all alone and you can walk for miles. When you head north (right) you end up at River Laggan where it flows into the sea. Go left (south) and you can walk all the way to the airport and further south to Machrie and Kintra if you are able to cross the few burns. No matter which way you go, this is a most enjoyable and refreshing walk.
Big Strand looking south
On Top of the Dunes
Miles and Miles of Beach and Sea