Ettrick Bay, looking south
Ettrick Bay, looking south

Ettrick Bay is a beautiful coastal bay with a broad, sandy beach, located on the less-populated west coast of Bute, about 2.5 miles (4km) from Rothesay by car. The bay stretches for one mile (2.2km) in a north/south direction and is separated from the Cowal peninsula to the west by the Kyles of Bute channel.

The shore that lines Ettrick Bay has a shingle foreshore leading down to a wide, sandy beach where you can sometimes see horseback riders exercising their mounts. The beach is very popular with visitors and locals alike. The water is clear and clean, and is regularly monitored.

The high water mark can be as much as 1,600 feet (500m) from the water at low tide.

The bay and beach were used in training exercises for the D-Day landings in 1944. You can still see concrete frames used by the British army during the training exercises near the bridge over Glenmore Burn.

Near the northern end of the bay is the Ettrick Bay Tea Room, offering refreshments, toilets, a children's play area, and a picnic area as well as a small campsite.

Aside from the tea room, there are several lay-bys along the bay offering easy, free parking.

Waves on the beach at Ettrick Bay
Waves on the beach at Ettrick Bay

At the southern end of Ettrick Bay is a bird hide, offering a protected view of water birds and waders.

Immediately east of Ettrick Bay is St Colmac's Church, a redundant Victorian Gothic church. Between the church and the bay is St Colmac's Stone Circle (sometimes known as the Ettrick Bay Stone Circle), a setting of seven stones in a circle with an eighth stone outside the ring to the south.

To the north, a minor road leads up the coast to Glecknabae, where trails lead to prehistoric burial cairns at Cairnbaan and Kilmichael. Near the Kilmichael cairn is an early Christian chapel thought to date to the 6th century.

Be aware that there are no visitor facilities at Ettrick Bay (beyond the tearoom), but it is one of our favourite places to relax and enjoy nature on Bute.

Getting There

You can reach Ettrick Bay on the B875 (northern end) or A844 (southern end) from Rothesay.

About Ettrick Bay, Bute
Address: A844, Rothesay, Bute, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Attraction Type: Countryside
Location: 2.5 miles (4km) west of Rothesay off the A844 or B875. Numerous parking areas.
Website: Ettrick Bay, Bute
Location map
OS: NS039660
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

St Colmac Cottages Stone Circle - 0.6 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

St Colmac's Church - 1.2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Bute Museum - 2.1 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Craigberoch Standing Stone - 2.6 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

St Ninian's Bay Standing Stones - 2.6 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Cairnbaan Chambered Cairn - 2.9 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

St Ninian's Chapel - 2.9 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Rothesay's Victorian Toilets - 3.1 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

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