The Currie Sands near Portnahaven is Islay’s most westerly beach. You can find it at Claddach, west of Portnahaven. If you’re in Portnahaven take a right at the church and then, after around half a mile, take the single track road on your left and drive it till you reach Claddach Number 1, here the road goes right and uphill. You can park in the grassy area on your left and enter the beach through the green gate. To better enjoy this stunning stretch of coast you’d might want to leave the car in Portnahaven and walk the relative short distance, it’s 1.3 miles to be precise.
This sandy beach is rather secluded and protected from westerly winds. It’s not large, maybe 100 metres from left to right, but backed by dunes where you can find beautiful flowers in spring and early summer. This is definitely not a beach where you can swim as the currents can very dangerous here, so please also take care on the surrounding cliffs which are worth “discovering” as well. From time to time seals will pop up and check you out and I’ve seen Sea Eagles on several occasions flying overhead.
This was the beach we most visited when we lived on Islay as it was part of our favourite walk on Islay: the circular walk from Portnahaven to Ballymeanach and back via the coast, where you can watch the Frenchmen’s Rocks, and then on to Currie Sands and Claddach to Portnahaven. A total of around three miles.
Currie Sands is also great to watch the waves when the swell is high, usually in the Autumnn and Winter. To see the swell even better go up the cliffs on your right when you face the sea and walk towards the former wave power station. But be careful!!
Currie Sands Video
I shot this video a couple of years ago during a nice swell. Great to see the waves enter the channel on the right from the beach. Enjoy.