After completing a project to ‘bag’ the 214 Wainwright fells in the Lake District in 2019, Cheshire native David Oliver turned his attention to Scotland for his next endeavour.

The challenge? To explore the coast of Scotland by visiting every beach on the mainland and the islands -  and towns, lochs, mountains and glens as an added bonus along the way.

What started out as a humble walking project to visit a few scenic beaches in the Highlands soon escalated into The Scottish Beach Project. 

And despite saying it was “possibly overly ambitious, almost certainly misguided and probably ultimately unachievable” at the outset, he now finds himself, less than three years in, having chalked up visits to more than 100 of the “300 plus” beaches dotting Scotland’s coastline.

READ MORE: Meet the Englishman visiting every beach in the Highlands and Islands

A maiden trip to Tiree last week saw the 58-year-old add 17 new beaches to his list, with Oliver revealing that he fell in love “almost instantly” with an island that, for keen lovers of coastal walks like himself, “has got everything really”. 

He told The Herald: “I tend to do a lot of research when I go to a place. I’m not a local and part of the reason I’m doing this is to explore Scotland and especially the Highlands and Islands. From my research I knew that Tiree is famous for its beaches so I knew I was in for a treat. I knew there were half-a-dozen big-hitters as it were, they have a lot of big surfing competitions in the summer. 

“There’s such variety on Tiree. There’s a lot where there’s a lot of seaweed that’s washed up because it’s so flat and then others round the corner you might get these long, expansive beaches with pristine white sand, and then you get a little rocky cove. I thought the variation was really good, and they are all a few miles apart. 

“It’s 12-miles wide and almost around every corner there’s an amazing beach. I like a pristine white beach as much as anyone but sometimes it’s the rockier beaches that I find that are more  interesting because they’ve got a little bit more character to them.”

Since starting his Scottish Beach Project, Oliver now has an 8,000-strong group of followers on his Twitter page, plenty of whom will have no doubt wondered how he has managed to tick off so many of Scotland’s beaches without so much as a heavy shower to put a damper on his visits.

With over a century of beaches now under his belt, Oliver admits his attempt to explore the coast of Scotland by visiting every beach on the mainland and islands has now gone from being a “project to an obsession” in a way. 

READ MORE: Scottish beach 'resembling tropical paradise' named in top 50 in the world

He said: “I’ve definitely got the bug for it. I like to spread it out. I’m in no hurry and I’m not trying to break any records. It will take as long as it takes and whether I do reach what I said might be an over-ambitious target or not, it’s so good to plot these little trips that I do, especially if I’m going to a new island like Tiree. 

“I’m going to the northern part of the Outer Hebrides in September and I’m going to try and get to the Isle of Muck and the Small Isles over the summer. So I’ve got these little trips planned but I realise that the more I get into it the more I realise that I’ve got so many more beaches to go to.

“I should think by the end of the summer I should be over 150 beaches or so and I’ll have to start thinking about where I want to go over the winter and next year. There’s a long, long way to go but I’m making progress.”

HeraldScotland: David OliverDavid Oliver (Image: Newsquest)

While ultimately a walking project, Oliver’s attempt to visit every ‘named’ beach in Scotland is allowing him to visit or plans visits to parts of the country he had never thought of visiting or even heard of, such as Orkney and Shetland and the rugged peninsula of Coigach in Wester Ross. 

Oliver said: “I’m visiting places that I probably would never have gone to in my life. I went to Coigach a few weeks ago. I’d never heard of this place before and without this project I never would have come across that. On a map of Scotland it’s just this tiny little peninsula. I absolutely loved it. It’s such an amazing place to go. It was so unspoilt and quiet. And so the project has given me this opportunity to go to some of these sort of undiscovered remote places that I would never have otherwise gone to.

“Although they are just beaches but they’ve given me a reason to go to places and connect up and see the islands and see what’s around. It’s not just ticking off the list of a beach, it gives me the opportunity to go and spend some time in these places. Sometimes my wife and my daughter will come with me and we’ll make it a family thing or other times I just go on my own. 

“Later in the year I’ll be going to Harris and places like Luskentyre and these other ones that always come up on the lists but then again five minutes down the road will be a tiny sort of almost deserted beach that everyone misses and that can be just as much fun. I love that variation of it.”