Carrick Bay (or Carrick Shore – it varies!) is an amazing and fairly ‘secret’ beach in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Here’s an introduction to its magic.
When I say ‘secret’, obviously it isn’t that secret if I’ve found it. But it’s hidden away and must be quite undiscovered because it’s empty every time we go. That’s secret enough for me. And given that my blog only has about four regular readers, including my mum, writing about it here is unlikely to change the ‘secret’ levels.
Visit Scotland describes it as a ‘hideaway’ from the bustle of everyday life. I think that nails it.
It lies about 10 miles from Kirkcudbright (where we always stay) and 6 miles from Gatehouse of Fleet, so it’s slap bang in the middle of the area. We’ve been going there since I was a child but only discovered Carrick Bay a few years ago. Up until then, our favourite beaches were Rockcliffe and Kippford, but now Carrick Bay (or Shore…) is definitely up there with them.
I suppose we’d never found Carrick Bay before because it’s so off the proverbial beaten track. On this visit, we only saw two other people. Other than that, it was just us and the sea. Just look at it. What a beaut.
The views from Carrick Bay / Shore
Because there are usually no other people around to ruin your shot, Carrick Shore is perfect for taking photos. The views are pretty special. On a nice day, it’s crystal clear for miles. It’d be such a good beach to bring your horse to (I think mine may object to the rather long journey, but if you lived locally, it’d be lovely to ride on if you could find a path onto the sand avoiding the stones).
I must point out that I was wearing this disgusting footwear combination for the beach only. And no one saw. It’s my mum’s walking boots and socks. I do not own such a monstrosity, but I didn’t want to wreck my Converse and ends of jeans scrabbling round in rockpools.
Anyway, views. Yes. Good.
Befriending crabs and other creatures on the shore
Carrick Shore is mostly sand, with a bit of shingle and some 10/10 rockpools.
Obviously the main point of any rockpool-based action is to find plenty of crabs and transfer them to the best rockpools you can find so that birds don’t get them before the tide comes in. Or is that just me?
Carrick is great for this and we found some really nice speckled crabs, big and small. But excitingly, we also managed to scoop a little fish up! Quickly took a photo of him in the bucket before freeing him again in deeper water. He seemed to enjoy his moment in front of the camera.
We also found these two weird beasts. They’re not empty crab shells. I think they might be sea urchin shells, but they were quite big and I always thought sea urchins were smaller. Curiouser and curiouser. Mermaid earrings? Answers on a postcard. Or in the comments.
Walking from Carrick Bay to Ardwell Isle
If the tide is out, you can walk to Ardwall Isle from Carrick Bay. This is the pretty little island that serves as the main view from Carrick.
Ardwall Isle is one of the Fleet Islands, in the Galloway area. Much like Rough Island in Rockcliffe, you’ll have to try not to get stranded by the tide coming in. As pretty as it is, it’s probably not worth dying for. Apparently there is an ancient burial ground there though…
We’ve not yet done the walk to Ardwell Isle but if we’re feeling more energetic next time, I think we will give it a go. Also, there are loads of gulls and other seabirds hanging out in these parts, so if you’re into wildlife, it’s perfect.
Free advertising for Pack The Suitcases…
Ahem. This has to happen on every sandy beach.
I wonder if anyone has ever actually found it and thought WTF is packthesuitcases.com and who are these absolute coins writing it in sand everywhere from Japan to Scotland.
If you’ve actually looked up the blog from finding it on a beach somewhere, please do let me know. It would make my life.
Carrick Bay / Carrick Shore, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland: useful information
How to get there (and away)
Sadly, we break our no-driving rule when it comes to a trip to Dumfies & Galloway. To get to Carrick, we drive from Kirkcudbright and it takes about 20 minutes. There’s no carpark, so you just have to pull up on the grass. It’d be quite good for a car picnic in bad weather actually (childhood holiday nostalgia, anyone?!) because you can park facing Ardwell Isle. It’d be a nice view while you watch the rain lashing against the windscreen and eat your cheese rolls.
Where to stay
We always stay in the nearby town of Kirkcudbright, which is an ideal base for days out. There are plenty of other places to stay locally and it seems you can also stay a bit further down the beach in self-catering places if you’re into that kind of malarkey.
When to go
We went in July this time and got lucky with some 31-degree weather. As I’ve said in my other posts in this little Dumfries and Galloway series, nowhere gets too heaving with tourists. Carrick is no exception. We almost had it to ourselves for the whole morning.
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If you enjoyed this post about Carrick Bay, you might also like others in my Dumfries and Galloway collection:
- a Kirkcudbright travel guide
- a walk between Rockcliffe and Kippford
- a perfect day in Castle Douglas
- discovering Gatehouse of Fleet and Mossyard
- visiting Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey.
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