By Craig Neil
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Table of Contents
- Tourist information
- Tourist map of Scotland
- Things to do nearby
- Frequently asked questions
The Silver Sands of Morar are a series of celebrated beaches on the Morar Peninsula, south of Mallaig.
These stunning white-sand beaches are a favourite spot for tourists due to the crystal-clear sea along this stretch of coastline, as well as the stunning views of the Small Isles.
Two popular beaches south of Morar are Camusdarach and Back of Keppoch, but a short walk along the coastline takes visitors to a number of smaller beaches that are just as scenic and less frequently visited.
|Address:||Morar Beach car park,
|Parking:||Free on-site car park.
Parking spaces on the roadside.
|Facilities:||Toilets in the car park.|
1: There aren’t many first-rate beaches in this part of Scotland, so if it’s a sunny day and you’re looking for a beach day the Silver Sands of Morar are the best option.
These beaches are some of the nicest on the west coast, with fine, golden sand that is very clean and sea that is entirely unpolluted.
2: Because the beaches are set inside natural bays they’re well protected from the waves, making the Silver Sands ideal for swimming. Alternatively, you can head a couple of miles inland to Loch Morar.
3: Morar Bay is a fantastic place to spend the day. The beach is long, the views are lovely, and the sea is shallow enough to let the kids go wild without having to keep a constant eye on them.
When the tide goes out you can even walk across to the other side where you’ll find another, very rarely used beach (note that alternative access can be found behind the Morar Hotel).
1: The beach at the mouth of the River Morar has an easily accessible free car park complete with a toilet block which is situated very close to the beach.
If the car park is full there are several spaces on the side of the road on the B8008 (although they tend to fill up by mid-morning).
Likewise, there’s a large and free car park at Camusdarach beach which can be accessed by following the B8008.
2: There are no facilities in the area so you’ll have to take your own food and drink with you. Toilet blocks are few and far between as well and the only ones I found were at the Morar Bay car park and the Morar Hotel.
3: If you want to sit on a beach that’s away from other tourists you’ll find a couple of small bays around the headland from Morar Bay.
It’s a bit tricky getting there over land as the ground is very rough, but when the tide retreats it’s possible to walk around on the seaward side – just don’t get caught out when the tide comes back in.
I have to start by saying the Morar Peninsula and the area surrounding it is one of my favourite places in Scotland for a summer holiday.
The region is home to some of the most scenic lochs in Scotland (Morar, Nevis, and Shiel spring immediately to mind), there are hill walks galore, exceptional trails along the coast, easy access to the Small Isles and Skye from Mallaig, and the coastline includes the superb Silver Sands of Morar.
The village of Morar lies at the head of Loch Morar where it overlooks Morar Bay – a wide, shallow estuary that joins the River Morar on its eastern side and the sea on its western edge.
This bay is the start of the ‘silver sands’ which are a string of golden sand beaches that pepper the coastline for several miles south to the remote village of Back of Keppoch.
Admittedly they’re not the biggest beaches in the world, but what they lack in size they more than make up for with their clean sand, even cleaner sea, and the stunning views of Eigg and Rum located just a few miles offshore.
This stretch of coastline has been carved into a series of shallow bays so they’re a favourite spot for water sports, and because they’re so sheltered they’re perfect for swimming.
Morar Bay, in particular, is almost entirely enclosed by land and the sea is often only waist-high, so if you’re a wee bit nervous about swimming outdoors it’s an ideal place to take a dip.
The sand on each beach is remarkably clean so kids can be left to go romping about without having to keep a constant eye on them, and they’re remote enough that you can usually find a secluded spot somewhere.
That last point is one of the best reasons to visit the Silver Sands of Morar as there are several hidden away beaches around the Morar Bay headland that are rather awkward to get to which in turn means they’re rarely visited.
That doesn’t mean the Silver Sands are completely tourist-free though, as some beaches like Camusdarach are always busy in summer. Still, if you can locate a beach that’s away from the main ones there’s every possibility you’ll arrive and find you’ve got the entire place to yourself.
There are three main options for getting to the Silver Sands of Morar. The first is to drive the A830 and then take the junction to the B8008 where you’ll find a car park a couple of miles further down that will give you easy access to Morar Bay.
The second option is to continue driving down the winding B8008 till you get to another car park signposted for Camusdarach beach, and the third is to continue even further to the Traigh beach car park.
Having visited all three in 2021 I have to say each beach is as good as the next so if you arrive and find there’s nowhere to park you won’t miss out by getting back in the car and heading to the next one.
Traigh beach offers the best opportunity to find a secluded spot as it comprises several stretches of sand set inside small crescent-shaped bays.
I highly rate this part of the Silver Sands as there are islands close to the shoreline that offer protection from the waves, so it’s possible to safely paddle around on an inflatable, plus those islands will keep kids busy while they poke and prod the many rock pools left behind by the retreating tide.
The only negative I have is that the car park is quite small with maybe enough space for a dozen cars, but on the other hand that also means there are fewer people around.
Heading a wee bit further north, Camusdarach is frequently rated as one of Scotland’s top-ten beaches and it was used as a set for the cult film Local Hero so it’s very popular with tourists, but unfortunately you’re unlikely to get much seclusion in the height of summer.
That being said, the beach is long, clean, and golden, and the sea has a lovely aquamarine colour due to the very shallow water of this particular bay.
There’s not much else to comment about Camusdarach beach, but I do have to point out that the car park is set quite a way inland (a third of a mile) so it’s a pain to get to if you’ve got a family’s-worth of tents, picnics, and kids toys clutched underarm.
If that sounds like you then the Silver Sands at Morar Bay will be your best option. This is the only beach with a toilet block (located in the car park), and it’s the only one where it’s practical to park a motorhome.
Morar Bay is set inland a half-mile from the sea so you won’t be able to look across to the Small Isles and soak up those fabulous views while you’re sunbathing, but at least there’s the River Morar to look at which is officially Britain’s shortest river.
An added bonus is that as it’s so sheltered it’s also the best beach to visit if it’s windy (this is Scotland after all…).
When the tide retreats you can walk around the headland to reach a couple of other small and secluded beaches, or you can wade across to the other side of the river which has a quiet beach backed by woodland – but bear in mind the bay is very shallow so the tide returns surprisingly fast.
Discover more places to visit in the Scottish Highlands with: The Best Places to Visit in the Highlands – Ultimate Visitor Guide.
Tourist map of Scotland
Morar Beach car park:
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Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:
Loch Morar & Mallaig – 398 Explorer.
Mallaig & Glenfinnan – 40 Landranger.
OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
Things to do nearby
Loch Morar. Morar, PH40 4PB. 5-minute drive. Loch Morar is one of the most beautiful freshwater lochs in Scotland.
The loch is located a couple of miles inland from Morar village and is easily accessed, though parking is limited. The loch features a number of islands at its western end which are popular destinations for kayakers.
Mallaig. Mallaig, PH41 4PY. 8-minute drive. Mallaig is a small fishing village located three miles north of Morar.
The village is the ferry departure point for sailings to the Small Isles and Skye, and it is also the last stop for the renowned Jacobite Steam train.
Mallaig Heritage Centre. Station Rd, Mallaig, PH41 4PY. 8-minute drive. The Mallaig Heritage Centre is located next to Mallaig train station.
The centre houses a number of exhibits that depict Lochaber’s rich history including the region’s industrial and fishing heritage, its turbulent times of war, and how people farmed this incredibly remote part of the British Isles.
Larachmhor Garden. Arisaig, PH39 4NX. 10-minute drive. A wild woodland garden that has been carefully tended for over 150 years.
The garden houses more than 1,200 different plant species, including nearly 200 different types of rhododendron. Parking is via a roadside layby located 50 metres beyond the entrance. Entry is free.
The Prince’s Cairn. 120 A830, Lochailort, PH38 4NA. 13-minute drive. The Prince’s Cairn marks the point where Bonnie Prince Charlie left the Scottish mainland for good after his defeat at Culloden.
There is a large layby on the left-hand side of the road that allows access to the cairn which is also a scenic viewpoint.
Frequently asked questions
How do I get to the Silver Sands of Morar ?
The silver/white sands of Morar are located 1/2 mile south of Morar village, west of Loch Morar.
Address: Morar Beach car park, B8008, Mallaig, PH40, UK.
Directions map: Google Maps
Is Silver Sands beach open to the public?
Silver Sands beach is free to visit and open to the public year-round. There is no entry fee to visit the Silver Sands of Morar.
Can you wild camp at Morar?
Wild camping is allowed around Morar thanks to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. However, there are a number of very good campsites in the area so wild camping is purely optional. Camping on the Silver Sands beach is permissible but frowned upon due to the disruption to other beach users.
What visitor facilities are there at the Silver Sands of Morar?
The Silver Sands of Morar has a small car park and a toilet block. Roadside parking is possible in some areas of the B8008.