Dailbeag Beach

Dailbeag beach is the smaller of two beaches lying just to the north of Carloway on the west coast of Lewis. The beach is at the back of a small bay which faces due west, so the Atlantic waves can come crashing straight into the bay and onto the beach. Facing west, this is an ideal spot for sunset photography. There is also a small loch behind the beach with some reed beds, and this also makes an attractive subject.

Location and Parking

Post Code: HS2 9AE

To reach Dailbeag, follow the A858 along the west coast of Lewis. From the south, Dailbeag is 3 miles north of Carloway. If coming from the north, it is 2 miles south of Shawboast. There is a small single track road signposted to Dail Beag which runs out to the beach, with parking at the end, next to the loch.

Loch Dhailbeag

Before visiting the beach, Loch Dhailbeag is worth a look. (Such are the vagaries of Gaelic spelling that both the OS Maps and Google Maps include an ‘h’ in the name of the loch, but Google Maps and the roads signs exclude this ‘h’ from the spelling of the beach). There is a small area of reeds that can look quite attractive, especially around sunset.

Loch Dhailbeag

Dail Beag Breakers

As the beach faces west, it catches the full force of the Atlantic swell. This can produce some spectacular waves, especially when they break against the headland at the left side of the beach.

Dail Beag Breakers

Dail Beag At Sunset

The true glory of Dail Beag occurs in the evening, just before and after sunset. The image below was take in March, when the setting sun just clears the headland on the left. A few rocks on the left side of the beach provide some foreground composition opportunities.

Sunset at Dail Beag

In March or September, some careful alignment between the sun and the rocks in the distance is possible.

Sun And Waves At Dail Beag

During the summer months, the sun sets further out to sea, as seen in the image below which was taken in May. In this image, a bit of flash was used to throw some light onto the foreground rock.

Due to the powerful Atlantic waves, there is often a good surge up the beach. This can be captured by a long exposure shot. A bit of experimentation is required to find the best shutter speed, but something slightly less than 1sec usually works well.

Incoming Waves at Dail Beag

As the sun sets, the colours change from mainly yellow, to orange and then blue as we move between the golden and blue hours.

Dail Beag Golden Hour

Dail Beag Sunset

Dail Beag Blue Hour

One last possibility is to take long focal length shots of the distant rocks just after sunset. Keeping the shutter speed at about 1 sec gives a bit f movement in the waves.

Sunset Breakers At Dail Beag


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