On Location at Singing Sands Beach

David Coultham

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Singing Sands Beach

The Singing Sands (Camas an Lighe in Gaelic) is a beautiful white sand beach on the Ardnamurchan Peninsular. Ardnamurchan is known as the UK’s last wilderness, and although it is certainly not in any sense of the word wilderness, it is a remote location with only around 2000 residents in an area of 130 square kilometers (50 square miles). The entire Arnamurchan area is a wildlife haven for some of the UK’s rarest animals, including the Scottish Wildcat, Pine Martens, Puffins, Eagles, Ospreys, Red Squirrels, and Otters.

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Singing Sands Beach | Ardnamurchan

How To Get To Singing Sands Beach

The Singing Sands Beach sits in the northeast of the Ardamurchan Peninsula and is accessed by walking along a 4.5 km track (2.8 miles) from Arivegaig, or Ockle on a slightly longer route.

Camas an Lighe (Singing Sands)

The Singing Sands beach is part of a larger area containing four individual bay dunes, which can be accessed at low tide. The beach is named due to the shape and size of the sand, and their tendency (under the right ambient conditions) to sing as the wind blows over the surface.

This article was written after a day trip during a cold and mostly wet February, and unfortunately, none of the rarer species of wildlife were seen. However, both Pine Marten and Badger tracks could be seen in the sand, therefore a visit from May to July complete with a portable hide is likely to yield more results!

Anyhow, here are the spots from the day. If you do enjoy some of the photography, then please check out my store.

Red Deer

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) are a common sight across much of the British Isles, and indeed in many parts of the world. However, it is perhaps little known that in Europe they are under threat of extinction. The Red Deer is the largest terrestrial mammal in the United Kingdom. They are instantly recognizable, particularly in the summer and autumn because of their red-brown fur, and mature stags sport impressive-looking antlers, which can span up to 1m in width.

Red Deer Stag posing for the camera

Whilst Red Deer are a relatively common sight, particularly in the Highlands, they are an endangered species due to hybridization with non-native introduced species. This Red Deer Article goes into more detail.

Wild Goat

Goats were thought to have been domesticated in the U.K. some 5000 years ago by Neolithic farmers. The wild goat (Capra aegagrus) is native to the Middle East. Many likely escaped, and this was certainly the case during the Highland Clearances. They are now somewhat of a naturalized species and are held in high esteem by some communities in Scotland. They also provide opportunities for wildlife spotting; albeit they can be difficult to spot as they tend to blend in well with the environment. Not to mention that they spend a lot of their time in difficult-to-get locations such as rocky crags and high ground.

These Wild Goats sometimes referred to as Feral Goats roam freely throughout the Scottish Highlands.

The International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) has identified that wild goats are one of the 100 worst invasive non-native species globally.  There is evidence in Scotland that wild goats are contributing to grazing pressures on protected nature conservation sites. 

Common Greenshank

The Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) is a medium-sized wading bird with a dark grey back and white underparts. Common greenshanks are a slim build with green legs and a slightly upturned bill; which helps to distinguish it from other wading birds. You are likely to hear them before you see them as they call regularly.

The Common Greenshank is an unusual visitor during the Scottish winter.

This one appeared to be on its own, although they can be seen in numbers. They are also an unusual spot during the winter, as they tend to migrate during the colder months. They are considered under threat in the U.K. and have an Amber conservation rating.

Oystercatcher

The Oystercatcher is a large wading bird. They are predominantly black and white, with orange-red bills and reddish-pink legs. They are a relatively common sight on U.K. coastlines. They have not been assessed from a conservation status, albeit they are considered vulnerable due to human overfishing of cockle beds.

Oystercatcher on the hunt for food.

Grey Heron

One of the more common birds across the entirety of the U.K., the Grey Heron is a long-legged and tall-wading bird with grey, black, and white feathers. They are considered green from a conservation status in the U.K. Often seen hunched over waterways looking for small fish, they make great subjects from a photographic perspective.

Grey Heron looking cautiously at the photographer!


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