One of the joys of travelling in Scotland is that it is still possible to take a turning off a main road and find at the end of it a gem that can still qualify for the title of "Undiscovered". Talmine is a perfect example.
Talmine is one of a string of small settlements looking east across Tongue Bay. It lies a couple of miles north of the main A838 road at the west end of the Kyle of Tongue bridge. As a result, though feeling very remote, Talmine is actually very close to the services in Tongue.
From the junction at the bridge, a minor road takes you past one of Scotland's more scenic cemeteries and through the strung-out settlements of Midtown and Skinnet. Talmine itself consists of two roads running around the back of an east facing bay, one at higher level, the other descending to give access to the beach and the small campsite behind it. (Continues below images...)
At the far end of Talmine the two roads come together again, before a branch leads down to the pier connecting the mainland with the tiny Eilean Creagach, complete with another lovely little beach. Another road from the far end of the bay leads north to the even smaller settlements of Achinahuagh, Port Vasgo and Lubinvullin.
Talmine is really all about its beaches and its bay. It also offers superb sea views to the north-east. These extend from the Sutherland coast east towards Bettyhill and include an intriguing collection of small islands in Tongue Bay itself. Largest and most distant of these is Eilean nan Ron, home to 30 people as recently as 1931 but now uninhabited by all but the spirits of the departed residents, by large numbers of seabirds, and by the grey seals who mass here every autumn to pup.
Closer at hand are the imaginatively named Rabbit Islands, with Sgeir an Oir just to their north with its natural rock arch. The islands are home to more stunningly inviting, if rather inaccessible, white beaches. Just off shore from Talmine itself is the tiny Talmine Island.
On the shore beneath Talmine are the remains of a fishing boat, The Reaper, registration WK87. She was built in Girvan in 1948. In 1976 she was badly damaged by fire while moored in Loch Eriboll. She was towed to Talmine and beached where you see her now.
Getting to Talmine involves significant mileage on single track roads. For more information about Scotland's single track roads and how to drive them, visit our feature page on driving single track roads.