Sinclairs Bay - Keiss

Sinclairs Bay - Keiss - Highland
© Glen Breaden and licensed for reuse under this Licence

About 12 miles south of John O’Groats, just off the A99 is the coastal village of Keiss, with its small, historic harbour and not much else, apart from this stunning, rather desolate beach. Keiss Beach, found at the northern end of Sinclair Bay is wild and full of windswept beauty.

At this end of Sinclair bay the terrain is more rocky than sandy, although at low tide a long strip of clean, white sand is revealed.

This part of the bay is visited less often than the sandier, more sheltered Reiss beach (adjacent to the golf course).  For this reason it makes a great place for those seeking solitude. It’s possible to walk for miles, and on a calm, sunny day, the big, open sky and sunlight reflecting on the North Sea make this an unforgettable place to sit and contemplate.  Don’t expect any facilities of any kind-there are none.

The sea is icy cold, even in the summer months.  Swimming here is not recommended.

As well as a variety of birds, the occasional seal can be spotted. Very occasionally, lucky beachcombers have even seen orca out at sea.

Owing to its northern latitude, in the summer the sun rises in the early hours, and does not go down until late at night. 

At the northern end of Keiss beach, close to the cliffs, tower the romantic ruins of 16th century Keiss Castle- built by George Sinclair, the 5th Earl of Caithness.  The beach was heavily fortified during the Second World War and the remains of pillboxes and other defences are still visible.

Type of beach

Sand & rock

Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs allowed

No Dog restrictions.

Highland dog friendly beaches »

Nearest town




OS grid ref.

ND 3485 6078


Parking available next to the beach.

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