As the days are getting longer again, many of us are thinking about rediscovering the magic of the great outdoors.
And one Scottish beach is said to be particularly magical, known for its paranormal phenomena as much as its picturesque views.
Several ghosts and even a beautiful mermaid are said to have been seen near Sandwood Bay in Kinlochbervie, on the far north coast of Scotland.
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The beach isn’t directly accessible by car. Instead, visitors hoping to experience its full secluded majesty need to walk four miles along a narrow path leading from the gravel car park in the tiny hamlet of Blairmore, making it an ideal spot for visitors who prefer to avoid crowds.
On the way to the beach, reports the Daily Record, you will pass the eerie ruin of Sandwood Cottage, which is said to be haunted by the ghosts of sailors who died in shipwrecks before the nearby lighthouse was built in the early 19th Century.
And once you reach the waters, you might just catch sight of the blue-eyed mermaid.
Celebrated folklorist R MacDonald Robertson recorded an interview with local farmer Sandy Gunn. He claimed in January 1900 he had seen a beautiful mermaid, some seven feet from the top of her head to the tip of her tail, sunning herself on the rocks.
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But on your way back from the beach, as the light begins to fail, you will need to watch out for the ghosts.
According to local legend, the spirits of shipwrecked mariners are believed to knock on the door of the ruined cottage on certain nights, looking for shelter.
One bearded sailor, wearing a peaked cap and a tunic with brass buttons, reportedly warned off two beachcombers in the early 1940s.
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As the pair collected driftwood, he is said to have suddenly appeared and – perhaps referring to the buried treasure of a lost Spanish galleon said to be hidden somewhere beneath the sands – told them: “All on this beach is mine, begone!”
Several other visitors to the bay have told of a strange figure knocking at the windows of the tumbledown cottage.
The is one rational explanation, offered by The Scotsman, for the supernatural phenomenon. Local hermit James MacRory-Smith, known as Sandy, lived near the beach for 32 years.
Famously fond of a drink, the irascible loner died in 1999 at the age of 73.
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