One of my ‘things to do before I die’ has always been to visit one of the few beaches in the world that purport to have singing sands.
It’s a type of beach with special sand composition from specific rock (don’t ask me which) that when conditions are right, apparently produce tones when walked across or the wind blows through them.
So on our last day on Islay, after a fantastic outdoor tour of the Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila distilleries, which we didn’t manage to catch whilst open, we set out on our bikes to the Mull of Oa.
I’d known for a while that there was such a beach on Iona, but only recently discovered that there was one on Islay.
The journey consisted of a hilly journey out past Port Ellen Maltings, and then round past the graveyards, and on towards the lighthouse on the opposite side of the bay from Port Ellen.
By the time we got round to the lighthouse it was raining quite heavily, and we stopped to take a few classic lighthouse shots, and enquire of a local fisherman if we were heading in the right direction.
As it was, we then traversed the hill which led, we were assured, round to the sands in question.
The first beach we encountered seemed to be too close to be the location we were looking for, so we pressed onwards through slippery rocks and boggy marsh.
We got as far as another rocky beach, encountered some hostile local goats, took photos of them, and decided to head back. But as the tide was starting to come in, we sat and refreshed ourselves with an Ardbeg 10 year old, just in case we got stranded.
Stopping on the first beach we had come to on our outward journey, we agreed that these were the sands we were looking for.
No singing was heard – other than the impromptu rendition of ‘The Wee Cooper O’ Fife‘, which Dubber insisted I perform in order to fulfill the required singing quotient, and possibly for his amusement…
After that we headed back home after we’d tossed a makeshift caber and paddled knee-deep in the Atlantic.
We had to pedal furiously, downhill, against the wind, but knew that a smorgasbord of fresh seafood awaited.