Besides the best education available to me in Scotland, one of the things that first attracted me to St Andrews was West Sands. Forever remembered as the beach where the iconic scene from Chariots of Fire was filmed, it is one of St Andrews’ main attractions and is always a busy spot come rain or shine.
During a trip to West Sands, you’ll probably spot the sports fanatics trying their hand at surfing or land sailing, perhaps a little Scottie dog paddling in the cool waters and maybe a baby building her first sandcastle. No matter what you come across, I can guarantee that there is one thing you won’t find: an empty spot to just stand still and watch the world go by.
West sands is always so busy. Particularly in the height of the summer, just trying to make your way to the shallows feels like a hectic commute into the city for work. We don’t go to the beach to get flustered or stressed; the beach is supposed to be a place of relaxation and contemplation. It’s meant to leave you feeling better than you did when you arrived there, not worse.
This is where the forgotten beach comes in. Rack your brains for a moment… what other beach could I possibly mean? It’s East Sands of course. East sands is, in my opinion at least, every bit as beautiful as the West Sands, and yet it seems to be overlooked and forgotten time and time again. Why?
My answer: I don’t have a clue as to why such a beautiful place (that more often than not is empty and more peaceful) is un-loved and forgotten about by visitors and students alike.
A quick walk over to East Sands can make you feel like a new person; the cold breeze coming off of the North Sea, along with the sight of the odd dog out a stroll, does wonders for the mind. Not only is it beautiful, it also has so much more to watch when compared to its twin, West Sands.
Nearby is the harbour, where the fishermen come in with their daily catches. Little children stand still and ogle at the big glassy eyes of the fish that are being take away to market. The Pier is also a sight to behold, particularly on a Sunday when the students of St Andrews brave their weekly morning walk (something that I have to admit I am far too scared to do again).
In addition to all of this, East Sands is much closer to most of town, giving you more time to spend meandering along its sandy shores. Considering that for most of us, finding enough time in the day is a constant battle, proximity to this brief respite cannot be a bad thing.
We’re extremely lucky to study at a university which is situated not only a picturesque town but also has three beautiful beaches close at hand; surely it’s silly not to take advantage of them all?