We had a week on the Island of Coll recently – it’s unique in having 23 beaches, very rich and varied bird life and is also a Dark Sky Community.
Of course I was keen to try out a new swimming location and we chose a small jewel of a beach on the north west of the island. As we walked down to the beach we gazed out at the horizon – and could make out some of the Outer Hebrides faintly blue in the far distance. Daisy meanwhile had spotted a field of alpacas and couldn’t quite believe her eyes!
There were some quite big green noisy breakers coming in. A bit scary; and since I wasn’t sure about currents or tides I decided on a quick dip and frolic in the waves, keeping close to the shore to avoid being swept out to America. Walls of green water rose up, curled over, smashed me down, then fizzed and frothed along the white sand. Intervals of smaller waves while the sea rested, then a series of big shiny translucent monsters rolled in – and I ran for the shore!
Beautiful pink smooth rocks rose high at each side of the beach and having reluctantly finished my swim I climbed along these, sometimes lying down on a smooth hot rock to warm up. Between the colossal boulders lining the shore were crystal clear rock pools, which filled and frothed and foamed with each huge breaker – giant Atlantic Jacuzzis – which were so enticing that I plunged in and enjoyed the cool bubbly sensation, the pool being refreshed with every wave.
My sister Ailsa meanwhile practised her hooping skills against the fabulous backdrop, while the Swift Swimmer, recuperating from illness, watched from the sidelines.
For a quieter swim I chose Loch Breachacha, close to the two castles, which slopes very gradually and feels very safe and sheltered. There I had a long swim in the rain, and floated on my back, watching the Arctic Terns, which were feeding there; graceful birds like sharp little arrows. One decided it wanted me to leave and dive-bombed me repeatedly until I did!
We visited at midsummer, at which time the sky never darkens, and it is broad daylight until well past 11.00pm! Thus I’m planning a return visit in wintertime for a magical starlit swim.