The Bay at the Back of the Ocean

Iona’s Bay at the Back of the Ocean’s wide panorama looks west across the Atlantic sea, bordered by wildflower grazing and multi-coloured pebbles.

The Bay at the back of the Ocean is located on the West Coast of Iona. It is ‘the’ place to watch the sunset from. Bordered by a deep stretch of wild flower meadow and common grazing for sheep and cows, it is known locally as ‘The Machair’. This land makes up 9 holes of the Iona links golf course and hosts the annual Iona Open at the beginning of August. This beach stretches in a wide arc from left to right and is exposed to the Western Atlantic Ocean, the next piece of land being North America.


On the far left of the bay, as you approach the beach, look out for the Spouting Cave in the distance on the shore line cliffs especially on blowy days when a good swell creates perfect conditions for water to be forced through a fissue in the rock, creating spouts of up to 30 feet.

The beach at the far left is called The Port of the White Stones due to the 4 large erratic boulders deposited on the beach after the ice melted. At low tide this beach has the best rock pools on the Island and you can explore the Cave of the Little Cross at the base of the cliffs. The central part of the bay is mostly rocky and inaccessible but is perfect for nesting sea birds including the oyster catchers and shell ducks, so it is a good idea to take your binoculars. Be careful where you walk as some eggs are laid on the beach and blend in with the pebbles. The right hand side of the beach has a mixture of sand and large multi-coloured pebbles and is a great spot for beach combing and seal spotting.