Beach facilities

View map of beach Parking available Scottish Coastal Path SSSI Dog friendly Good water quality for swimming

Season: summer

Balnakeil is an atmospheric beach, flanked by the ancestral burial ground of the Mackay clan, with its tumbled down church.  It is a popular spot, handy to get to from nearby Durness and long enough for a good stroll.  Today was ideal, with rampant late afternoon sun leading the way.  Paddling by the gentle waves were children and adults alike.  The beach has low, accessible dunes behind, an adjacent car park and excellent access, making this a jewel in the North Scotland coastal crown.

Summer visit photo gallery


Peter and Jacqueline at the beach in summer.


A fine scene at Balnakeil in the afternoon.

Season: winter

There’s a spectacular setting for Balnakeil beach, located on the way to Faraid Head, near Durness in Sutherland.  The sand is soft and white, with dramatic dunes behind and access is straightforward.  As well as the spectacular sunsets here, the dunes offer shelter to varied bird life.  You may see oystercatchers and terns, as well as seals in the bay.  This is a fine swimming beach too; in short, there’s plenty here for nature lovers.

Winter visit photo gallery


The scene at Balnakeil beach.

One thought on “Balnakeil

  1. Richard

    Balnakeil is a timeless place, reassuringly expansive, wild and stunning. One of the longest and most peaceful bays in Scotland, with almost a mile of pure white sand.
    Always the same splendour, but always changing according to the tide and the weather. The power of nature at its magnificent best. A brooding, atmospheric, yet beautiful place, under the spell of ancient Balnakeil House.
    Crashing waves, wonderful sands and beautiful dunes.


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