Driving towards Lunan Bay on the Angus coast, there are glimpses of the beach stretching out from Boddin Point to Lang Craig. But this doesn’t give you the real sense of scale.
This only happens once you have parked the car and are making your way up over the dunes. Distracted by the sand already pouring into your shoes, you hit the crest of the hill unprepared for the two-mile smile which suddenly glows up at you.
If you had the magical ability to move through time, you could tug yourself back a thousand years and watch Viking ships coming ashore here before the marauders are beaten back by King Malcolm II’s army.
Move a hundred years or so into the future and you could see the slow and steady construction of Red Castle, which today resembles a giant stone Tetris piece.
Like any beach, Lunan Bay invites exploration. Stand still and almost breathless until the seabirds forget you are there and resume their shallow water puttering and their sudden, mad squabbles over scraps of food.
Spend time walking with long, slow strides, casting your eye over the barrage of pretty pebbles in search of the agates and gemstones that often reveal themselves here.
As the sun creeps out once again from behind a bank of cloud, leave the Red Castle behind and head north towards the crumpled cliffs that wear green hats and crusty patches of yellow over their faces.
As you draw closer your heart begins to race as the word “cave!” bellows in your mind.
Yes, you are a pirate, come to seek the treasure you have heard was hidden here hundreds of years ago.
Moving into the shadows you study every inch, imagining how you would tuck yourself in during a storm and whether the tide would reach the tiny ledge in the very darkest corner.
By the time you head back there will be so much sand in your shoes there is no point in fighting it. Instead, climb around the dunes and watch the wind carve grandiose shapes from the sand, one grain at a time.
Finally it’s time to go. You have only be gone a few short hours, but it feels like days. Does it get any better than that?