The Gairloch area is famous for its many fine clean sandy beaches and views to Skye and the Outer Hebrides. The nearest beaches to Cairns Cottage, at Opinan (just a 5-10 minute walk from the cottage) and Port Henderson, are good swimming beaches, and further along the road at Red Point, there are two great beaches either side of the point. Scotland’s first snorkel trail, created by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, features several lovely local beaches including Big Sands and An Dun (next to Gairloch golf course) in Loch Gairloch, and Mellon Charles in neighbouring Loch Ewe. But there are good snorkelling and swimming opportunities at many other lovely beaches in the area, including Mellon Udrigle and Gruinard Bay. Visit the SWT website for further information and safety advice on snorkelling. The rocky coast between beaches is also superb for rock-pooling and watching wildlife. Wester Ross can have some stunning summer weather thanks to the warm current from the Gulf Stream. Indeed, although at a similar latitude to Moscow, palm trees grow in some local gardens. The Atlantic water is usually a few degrees warmer than that found in the North Sea to the east, and in sheltered bays can be warm enough to accommodate a whole day swimming, although you may need a wetsuit unless the weather is very hot!
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