Melvich Beach will Melt Your Frozen Heart
It is in fact scientifically proven - if by “scientifically proven” you mean, “I just had a massive walk along the golden frosty sands to warm up my freezing body and now I feel much better about my life”. In which case, yes, Science.
The frozen tundra of my office in sub zero temperatures (No guests = no heating. An executive decision made by Boss Chef. Still under negotiation) had my teeth chattering all morning and so it was that I grabbed a willing hound, ball launcher and some woollen head gear and skipped down to the beach to get my stiff limbs moving. There really is no more beautiful, more inspiring, more cobweb-cleaning place to be than Melvich Beach and I’m going to prove it to you. Right now.
Dog-related or not, you can walk for miles. Along the same beautiful half mile stretch admittedly, but you would never tire of it. In all weathers, winds and wave conditions, it is peaceful, usually empty and reassuringly enclosed on all sides by sand banks, river mouths, cliff edges and piers. The sand is well packed by the water’s edge to ensure you don’t get calf burn and it never gets whipped up no matter the gale force.
If Axel, Head of Canine Services, could string together more than the occasional NEVER LEAVE ME whine he would tell it to you straight. There IS no better dog walk. There are sea weed sticks to chew, there are huge spaces for ball launching. There are waves to surf for occasional dog baths. There are THINGS TO SNIFF. Today’s haul included half a tonne of kelp, three bits of driftwood, an ancient carcass (unidentified) and a old tennis ball. That’s treasure right there.
Got children? Same principals - sea weed sticks for swords, huge open rumpus spaces, waves to welly in, bears to hunt, adventures to be had. Four seasons, no matter the weather. Fact.
Editors Note: Children should never play with carcasses and responsible dog owners leave no trace. Also facts.
WIDE OPEN SPACES
Did I mention the SPACE? Most days of the week you’d be lucky if you meet three more people enjoying Meall (gaelic/ golden) Vick (norse/place) Beach and more often than not you’d have the whole Vick to yourself. Running, walking, adventuring, surfing, horse riding, picnicking, swimming, exercising, shell hunting, paddle boarding, fishing, circuit training, yoga. Whatever your passion, you’ve got the acreage to do it to your heart’s content.
The push of the tide is inexorable. The world turns, the stars move and the tides wax and wan with the moon. Luckily for us, this means surf, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, body boarding, splashing, body surfing, welly walking, wave chasing, ball bobbing and accidental baths. All of which bring much joy. If you haven't tried any of the above, we can help you find the right equipment - aside from the bathing bit, there you’re on your own.
IT DOESN’T MATTER. Well, it does insofar as you’d better bring your cagoule just in case, but otherwise, the beach is weather-proof. We are all, as my granny would say, water proof and if it rains it rains, but who cares. There is nowhere more spectacular than Melvich Beach in July on a 24 degree day with a picnic and a giant inflatable unicorn (see below) but the same could be said of the afternoon I’ve just walked through. About 1 degree ambient temperature with a wind chill factor dropping it another 5 degrees. Biting breeze, rosy cheeks, warm hands in your pockets and an enthusiastic clown of a retriever to keep up with - that’s proper mood enhancement, right there.
Bored of the beach? Well no matter, mosey on around the sand bank of the far eastern edge and would you believe it? There’s the river. The Halladale River to be more specific. World famous salmon river, the Halladale river bank is perfect to explore, throw Pooh Sticks off the bridge, paddle board when the beach side is looking chunky, spot seals, bird watch, read a book in a sheltered nook and you can even fish the odd wayward salmon for free from the stretch leading from the main road bridge to the beach. Quiet contemplation or riverside activity, either way, Melvich Beach is not Melvich Beach without the Halladale River.
So that’s five reasons right there and don’t even get me started on the pier, the natural harbour, the boulder crossing or the sunbathing cows. That’s for another day.
There are so many reasons to spend a hour or two on Melvich Beach but you really only need one. You can decide which it will be. Meanwhile, my dog, my melted heart and me will carry on enjoying the rest of this wild winter’s light.