One of the most stunning beaches in all of Scotland is Gott Bay which can be found on the island of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides.
With its beautiful turquoise sea and powder white beach it’s no surprise that this bay attracts thousands of visitors each year, and in fact, it’s often cited as one of the best beaches in Scotland.
Gott Bay is a great place to go whether you want to swim, sunbathe, or just take a walk along the water’s edge.
In this article, we’ll explore the stunning scenery of Gott Bay as well as the many fun things to do there that make it such a popular destination. So grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in!
Isle of Tiree,
|Opening Hours:||Gott Bay is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.|
|Admission Price:||There is no fee to visit Gott Bay.|
|Parking:||There is a free off road parking area on the northen end of Gott Bay just before the settlement of Ruaig (postcode PA77 6TR). There are a couple of smaller off road parking areas along the edge of Gott Bay which are marked with blue signs.|
|Facilities:||Car park. The Tiree Lodge Hotel has a restaurant, bar and toilets.|
Although it’s just 30 square miles in size, the Isle of Tiree has become a popular getaway for tourists thanks to its golden beaches and sheltered bays.
Just 650 people call this tiny island home year-round but that number more than doubles in the summer when visitors come to enjoy the island’s tranquil scenery.
Tiree’s weather is notoriously fickle, but the island sees a higher-than-average amount of sunny days (approximately 1500) in late spring and early summer despite experiencing strong winds throughout the year.
Tiree is sometimes referred to as “the Hawaii of the North” because of the island’s consistently high levels of sunlight, and windsurfers flock there because of the stiff breezes that blow in from the Atlantic.
From the expansive bays of Gott and Crossapol to the off-the-beaten-path hideaways of Sandaig and Caolas, Tiree is surrounded by beautiful beaches, but Gott is the largest and is arguably the most popular.
This bay lies on the northeast side of the island between the island of Soa on its northern end and the ferry terminal to the south and features a wide sweeping arc of sand that’s 2.5 miles end to end.
The beach is broken in the middle by a few rock outcrops but otherwise it’s completely clear and is a superb place for long beach walks as well as watersports enthusiasts.
Due to its horseshoe shape, Gott Bay allows windsurfers to enjoy watersports whatever direction the wind is blowing and as a bonus, the bays of Vaul and Salum are a mere half mile away on the opposite side of the island so it’s easy to pack up and move to windier conditions if the need arises.
One interesting point to note about Gott Bay is that it has connections with Saint Columba who founded Iona Abbey near Mull. Legend says that Columba landed on the bay and moored his boat to a rock, only for the boat to lose its mooring and float away.
The saint responded by cursing the rock and apparently it has remained free from seaweed to this day! While I haven’t been able to find the rock myself, apparently it’s located somewhere west of the ferry terminal.
1: As the longest stretch of sand on the island, Gott Bay beach is the preferred destination for sand yachters. The sand is relatively level and is quite firm near the water’s edge which makes it one of the top places in Scotland for the sport.
2: Due to its size, Gott Bay is also a great option for anyone hoping to enjoy a lazy day on the beach away from crowds. If you’re looking for a particularly secluded spot I recommend heading towards Soa island as the beach area there tends to be even quieter.
3: There aren’t too many places to get food and drink around Gott Bay but the Tiree Lodge Hotel more than makes up for that fact. The hotel serves delicious pub grub in generous portions and the breakfasts, in particular, are delicious.
1: There are several spaces on the grass behind the dunes of Gott Bay where it’s possible to park, but due to soil erosion it’s requested that visitors do not park anywhere except for the designated areas marked with a blue sign.
2: As the roads on Tiree are single track there are lots of passing spaces built into the verges. As an FYI for first-time visitors – it is not permitted to leave your car in these spaces.
3: Anyone looking for a really secluded spot to sit in the sun should head to the northern end of the bay where it’s possible to visit the islet of Soa. This wee island is mostly used for grazing sheep but there are a couple of bays around its shore where you can tuck yourself away from the world. You can see Soa in 360° in the virtual tour.
Those visitors arriving on the island by ferry will disembark at the terminal on Pier Road near Scaranish, after which they can turn left to head into Scaranish village to stock up on supplies at the Co-op, or turn right along the B8068.
If taking the right-hand route, the first beach you come across is Gott Bay. I’ve already mentioned that there are a couple of parking spaces on the grass behind the dunes along the bay but you might like to grab a bite to eat in the Tiree Lodge Hotel first.
Not only is the hotel the best place in the area for food but it’s situated pretty much in the middle of the bay so you’ll be able to walk onto the dunes to get your bearings before settling down for a meal.
The lodge has a tarmac car park so is accessible for all abilities unlike the other parking areas on Gott Bay which are comprised of sand and grass.
Be aware that nearly a quarter of the entire island is machair (a type of wild grasses and wildflowers) which is designated as a special area of conservation, and Gott bay is no exception. While it may be tempting to park on any available space it’s frowned upon to park on machair so please keep to the designated parking areas.
Wildlife watchers will enjoy the elevated positions offered by the dunes around Gott Bay which are great places for scanning the waters for wildlife which includes common and grey seals, otters, bottle-nosed and Risso’s dolphins, and basking sharks.
Gott Bay is also home to a number of birds including the elusive corncrake and large numbers of ducks and geese. If you don’t have a pair yet, I highly recommend purchasing a pair of binoculars (link to my reviews) for your visit to Gott Bay.
If you’d like to discover more beaches on the island take a look at this article: The Best Beaches on Tiree.
Things to do
Beach Activities: Gott Bay has a long curving beach that’s perfect for a variety of activities. Whether you prefer a relaxing stroll, an exciting ride on a sand yacht, or a fun-filled family day building sandcastles, the soft sand and scenic views make it a perfect beach destination.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing: Tiree is known as the ‘Hawaii of the North’ due to its low-lying landscape which provides great wind conditions for watersports. Gott Bay is a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing, with equipment rental and lessons available for beginners and experienced surfers alike.
Wildlife Watching: Gott Bay’s waters are home to an array of marine wildlife. Keep an eye out for seals lounging on the beach and otters playing in the shallows, especially around the Islet of Soa. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins.
Photography: With its white sandy beach, turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets, Gott Bay is a photographer’s dream location. Wait till the golden hour to capture some truly breathtaking scenes.
Fishing: Try your hand at fishing in the clear waters of Gott Bay. Whether from the ferry jetty or a boat, it’s not just a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery, but you might also catch your dinner!
Largest Bay on Tiree: Gott Bay is the largest bay on the Isle of Tiree, the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Its extensive beach is 2.5 miles long.
Kite and Windsurfing Paradise: Known for its consistent winds, Gott Bay is a popular destination for windsurfing and kite surfing enthusiasts. The bay’s wide, sandy beach and shallow waters make it an ideal location for these activities.
Ferry Terminal: The bay is home to Tiree’s ferry terminal, connecting the island to the mainland at Oban. This makes Gott Bay the gateway to the island, with picturesque views greeting visitors upon arrival.
Tidal Sand Flats: At low tide, Gott Bay reveals extensive sand flats, a fascinating spectacle that also provides feeding grounds for various bird species.
Surrounding Townships: The bay is surrounded by several townships, including Ruaig, Gott, Kirkapol, and Brock, offering glimpses into the island’s culture and lifestyle.
Archaeological Sites: The area around Gott Bay has several archaeological sites, including ancient chapels and standing stones, offering insights into the island’s rich history.
Things to do nearby
1: Balevullin Beach. Address: Balevullin, PA77 6XD.
This beach on the southwest corner of Tiree is one of the most-visited due to its position facing the strong winds of the Atlantic Ocean, making it a superb location for windsurfing.
Visitors looking to learn the sport before heading out onto the open water can head inland to nearby Loch Bhasapol which is used by watersports training schools.
2: Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum. Address: Hynish, PA77 6UG.
This is a small, free-to-enter museum that explores the history behind the Skerryvore Lighthouse – one of the remotest, oldest, and tallest lighthouses in the United Kingdom.
Skerryvore is situated on the southeast corner of Tiree which is a great place to visit in itself as it offers visiting tourists the chance to walk along a wild, rocky coastline that’s home to countless seabirds.
3: Soa. Address: Kirkapol, PA77 6TW.
Gott Bay is the largest bay in Tiree and is home to the largest beach on the island as well as the uninhabited tidal islet of Soa.
This island is 61 acres in size and is primarily used for sheep grazing, but a couple of rocky bays make it ideal for quiet beach days.
4: The Ringing Stone. Address: Tiree, PA77 6UY.
This unusual natural attraction is a large boulder that sits in a remote region on the northwest side of the island. This boulder has an unusual rock composition that creates a ringing sound when struck, similar to striking metal.
Though folklore says the boulder was thrown there by a giant, it is, in fact, a remnant left behind by a glacier.
5: Scarinish. Address: Scarinish, PA77 6UH.
Scarinish is the main settlement on Tiree and is the location of the island’s supermarket as well as a bank and a post office.
In addition, Scarinish has an attractive harbour which is the main departure point for wildlife cruises to the Isle of Lunga.
Frequently asked questions
Are there midges on Tiree?
There can be midges on Tiree but due to its location in the Atlantic and its windy conditions, Tiree is relatively midge-free. They are most commonly seen during the summer months, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon. However, their presence can vary depending on weather conditions and other factors. If you are planning a trip to Tiree during the summer months, it is a good idea to bring insect repellent with you just in case.
Where is Gott Bay?
Gott Bay is located on the Isle of Tiree which is a small island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The postcode of the Tiree Lodge Hotel which overlooks the centre of the bay is Kirkapol PA77 6TW.
If you’re visiting Gott Bay I would suggest checking out the nearby Tiree Beaches on the other side of the island – Vaul and Salum – which offer respite from the Atlantic breezes depending on the current wind direction.
Can you swim on Tiree?
Tiree is an island that’s known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters, making it a great place for swimming. Some of the most popular beaches to swim at on Tiree include Balephuil, Gott Bay, and Crossapol. Additionally, there are also opportunities for surfing and windsurfing due to the island’s windy conditions.
How long is Gott Bay?
Gott Bay is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) long and has stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters and is a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, windsurfing and other water sports.