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Shhhhh! Top Secret! Don't Tell The World About This Place!
Firemore Sands (Scotland)
Member Name: brittle1906
Firemore Sands (Scotland)
Advantages: Beautiful location with amazing views and a lovely beach
Disadvantages: Not for those who require facilities
This review is one that I have had my doubts about writing, for entirely selfish reasons. The wild camping site I will discuss here is so idyllic and unspoiled that I would hate it to become overcrowded with visitors! However, here goes I'd like to share this unique location with others.
Unlike England, Scotland allows people to wild camp, i.e. pitch a tent, caravan or motorhome on open land which is not a dedicated camp site. The law states that you must not camp on land that is fenced in.
**How We Discovered Firemore Sands**
My partner and I have spent many 'wild camping' holidays in Scotland over the years and have discovered some wonderful places, some are very remote and off the beaten track, which suits us perfectly. We do use camp sites too, but our real love is the freedom that wild camping affords. I appreciate that it is not for everyone, people who want amusement arcades, restaurants and entertainment would hate it.
You do have to accept an element of 'roughing' it as a matter of course, no hot showers unless your vehicle is self-sufficient for power, no flush loos, only your camper style chemical toilet, no takeaways or activities laid on for children.
We usually travel by motorhome and we adapt our vehicles to suit the wild camping environment by installing large water tanks, solar panels and generators for power and large storage lockers for long life foods and so on.
We first discovered Firemore Sands a couple of years ago, quite by chance. We were in the area and wanted to visit Cove in order to see the memorial erected to honour the brave men who died on the Russian Convoys during the Second World War. As we drove towards Cove, we noticed a field with a few motorhomes parked up and decided to investigate on our way back.
**Location and Brief History of the Area**
Firemore Sands are located on the B8057 north of Poolewe, north east Scotland. The access road is very narrow and steep in places, undulating and uneven, it is not a road for the feint hearted! We have coped perfectly well on this road in a campervan but I have to say that I wouldn't fancy driving a larger vehicle on the road!
The road is basically a dead end; it follows the coast line from Poolewe to Cove, a rocky promontory overlooking the Atlantic. The road hugs this beautiful coastline and gives some truly stunning views across the island of Ewe and the sea loch.
Firemore is a small crofting settlement on the west coast of Loch Ewe. During the early part of the nineteenth century the inhabitants of the inland glens were cleared to the coast to make way for sheep farming. Nowadays Firemore is a tiny rural community, a few houses dotted here and there, a couple of farms and a tiny village school. The area known as Firemore Sands is about half a mile from the little school.
**The Wild Camping Experience at Firemore Sands**
The camping area is community owned land and wild camping is permitted on the sand dunes above the beach. Camping is rough and ready, and almost free. There is an 'honesty box' where you are asked to pay £2 per night or £10 per week. All monies go to local Primary School. No one checks up and there are few rules and regulations, it's up to individuals to pay.
The actual land shows evidence of its use as a military base during World War 2, the concrete foundations of military building can still be seen and these make wonderfully flat parking spaces for heavier motorhomes to pitch up on. The sand dunes are of course lumpy and bumpy, but there are lots of flattish areas where you can park. I would recommend visitors to take levelling blocks for their caravans or motorhomes as you cannot guarantee being able to bag a concrete parking spot.
There are no facilities on the land at all. A rubbish bin at the entrance is the only concession to tourism! This is mainly because the land is also used to graze livestock and obviously farmers do not want their animals picking up rubbish. Dogs are welcome at Firemore Sands but of course owners need to be sensible and not let their animals worry the livestock, although there are no signs requesting dogs be kept on a leash.
On the subject of livestock, I must admit to a bit of a phobia, I am afraid of cows. I will walk miles rather than cross a field of the creatures and am absolutely terrified of them. I think this goes back to the occasion when my late father and I were chased by a herd of cows many years ago which absolutely petrified me and my dad had to literally throw me over a fence to get me out of the field! Anyway, on previous occasions at Firemore Sands there have only been sheep and young calves grazing which did not worry me in the slightest.
On my last visit, I opened the motorhome curtains one morning to find a herd of huge, horned, shaggy ginger coloured Highland cattle grazing a few feet from my windows! They made a great photograph, but I did not go outside until they had wandered away and my poor greyhound was totally bemused by them too. My partner assured me that they were harmless and although I'm sure he was right, I didn't care to find out for myself.
Firemore Sands are situated on a huge sweeping bay. The beach is mainly sandy and exceptionally clean. The beach is tidal and it is safe for swimming, canoeing and other water sports. If you are lucky you can see seals, whales, dolphins and a huge variety of sea birds from the beach. Many people fish and gather the mussels from the rocks surrounding the edges of the beach at low tide.
A small island of sand and rock lies in the centre of the beach, this can be reached easily by foot at low tide, but it does get cut off at high tide. It always reminds me of Kirren Island, the island in the Enid Blyton Famous Five novels I enjoyed as a child! Romantic, picturesque and totally beautiful.
When we last stayed at Firemore Sands in May 2012, we enjoyed some amazing weather and during our stay we struck up a friendship with another couple of around our age group, Roger and Serena. My partner and Roger decided to camp out on the island overnight, they took the small tent we travel with, their fishing gear, some food and drinks and had a great night out. Being big kids I am sure!
I must admit that I had no particular desire to join them but found it slightly surreal to see their lights at night and know that although I could see the men, they were totally cut off from me by the sea. Weird!
**Facilities, or Should I say Lack of Them?**
As mentioned there are no facilities at Firemore Sands, however, water can be obtained from a spring around a mile away or from the public toilets in Poolewe. We generally arrive at Firemore with our water tanks filled to capacity so have not had to rely on this rather haphazard water supply. As with any spring water, I would suggest boiling it before use for health and hygiene reasons! There is also a small convenience store a couple of miles away at the start of the B8057 where you can buy basic groceries, newspapers, baked goods, tobacco and so on. There is a cafe located within a small garden centre/craft shop on the road about a mile past the camping area, but it has never been open when we have visited the area!
Firemore Sands has everything I look for in a wild camping spot, peace and tranquillity, breath-taking scenery and a laid back remote feeling. I hope the place never gets overtaken by hoards of visitors; I should hate to see it spoiled, but if anyone has a yearning for wild camping and can be self-sufficient for a few days, then Firemore Sands is a location I would heartily recommend.
It is true that apart from the scenery and tranquil location, there is nothing at Firemore Sands, but it is a truly unique place where I hope to spend many more wild camping holidays in the future.
Please ignore the specific criteria as it is not relevant for this place!
Thank you for reading
brittle1906 January 2013
N.B. My review may be found on other sites under the same user name.
Summary: Wild camping at it's best