Machir Bay

Machir Bay

Route: Machir Bay

Area: The Rhinns of Islay

Date of walk: 23rd March 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 2.1 miles

Ascent: 150 feet

Weather: sunny but hazy

Earlier in the day we’d completed a short walk at Portnahaven on the Rhinns Peninsula, which left time for another short walk in this remote part of the world. Machir Bay beach, also known as Kilchoman beach, is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Islay, with a spectacular sweep of white sands extending over a mile. The name of the bay derives from the coastal grass known as machair. 

We parked at the end of a track off the public road to Kilchoman. From here the beach is a short three minute stroll. Instead of the direct approach we preferred to follow a circular route, and so passed through a gate beside an information board and headed along an easy inland track. We had to divert from our route at one stage to avoid a large herd of cows with calves, but regained it near the sand dunes. 

The southern end of Machir Bay came into view and as we rounded a corner there was a fabulous view along the beach. We passed through a metal gate and descended onto the beach to begin a heavenly walk along its pristine sands, which were all but deserted. For anyone following this route, don’t be tempted to go for a swim – strong rip tides make swimming here extremely dangerous.

All too soon we reached an obvious break in the dunes just before the far end of the beach. We reluctantly turned our backs on the sea and returned to the nearby parking area. It had been a superb short walk.

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