Broughty Ferry Beach is an asset that Dundonians are rightly proud of.
Just four miles from the centre of Dundee, it is a place where the stress and strain of the city can melt away.
The large sandy beach is backed by dunes and overlooked by an historic castle.
For the active this is a spot to jet-ski, sail, surf and swim.
For those seeking relaxation there are seals, whales (if you’re lucky), Tayport, Tentsmuir and the rest of the north Fife coastline to be gazed at.
This summer the RNLI lifeguards have been a reassuring presence, particularly for parents keen for their children to have fun in safe surroundings.
There is also an easy-access promenade and ample pubs and restaurants nearby.
Broughty Ferry beach is somewhere ‘we have always had a soft spot for’
Few places speak of nostalgia more than a beach in the summer.
One such warm reminder of the past was prevalent when Falkirk man David McFadden (61) and wife Wilma (54) returned to Broughty Ferry.
For a number of years from the mid 2000s the couple stayed in a caravan in Monifieth owned by David’s mother so were regulars at the beach.
But this summer’s visit was the first for eight years.
“It’s a nostalgic trip for us,” says David. “We love the sandy beach and sea, and it’s a lovely wee town with a feel-good factor about it.
“We have always had a soft spot for here – we like seeing people paddleboarding and on their yachts.
“The beach, being big and sandy, gives it something extra.
“It’s great seeing families having quality time and kids enjoying themselves.”
Joining them on this year’s holiday at the Premier Inn in Panmuirfield was daughter Eilidh, 20.
“Normally when we come here we are always on the go,” says Wilma. “But this time we wanted to chill and relax and have relaxed.”
‘Imagine having this as your back garden’
The discovery of Broughty Ferry Beach came late for Margaret Binks – but now she can’t get enough of it.
The Renfrew resident had never been to this part of the world until her son Robert moved to Dundee five years ago to work for DC Thomson.
He rented a flat in the Ferry, meaning Margaret, now 62, was able to walk five minutes around the corner to enjoy the famed sands.
“When visiting we used to come here twice a day,” she says.
Robert left his job six months later but it was long enough for Margaret, a nurse, to feel an affinity with Broughty Ferry that has endured another five visits.
For this summer she spent two nights with fellow nurse Clare Bowater, 53, at the Best Western Woodlands Hotel.
“It’s a lovely beach and very clean,” says Margaret. “We are quite nosy so enjoy people-watching when we come here.
“When Robert lived here you could walk along the beach at night-time and then return to the flat.
“It was amazing. Where else can you do that?
“It is like being in a timewarp here. You would not think you are so close to a city like Dundee.
“I would like to retire here. Imagine having this as your back garden.”
Presence of lifeguards ‘reassuring’
The presence of lifeguards at Broughty Ferry Beach has been a great reassurance for many this summer.
For the first summer ever, RNLI lifeguards have this year set up safe swim zones between 10am and 6pm every day.
They will be in place until the start of September to help swimmers avoid dangers such as rocks and rip tides.
They are also monitoring weather and sea conditions to keep bathers free from harm.
Broughty Ferry resident Lucy Scott, 43, has been in the sea this summer with her daughter Anna, 8, who is learning to swim.
“I am not a very good swimmer, which is why I feel safer and reassured when lifeguards are present,” says Laura.
“It’s a lovely beach and we are very lucky to have it. There is a lot going on and it’s beautiful with the castle and view over to Tayport.”
Broughty Ferry Beach is mental health group meeting spot
Broughty Ferry Beach is the regular meeting point for a Dundee mental health therapy group.
The Selkies was set up a year ago for those who want to have a swim and a chat.
One such occasion was this year’s summer solstice, when 20 members took a dip.
Broughty Ferry resident Lynne Clark, 44, says: “The group is for people to come and have a swim and chat.
“It is about mental health therapy with the swimming secondary.”
‘Trying to find’ seals after whale sighting
Broughty Ferry Beach is a great place for observing wildlife.
Two years ago Robert Phillips, 49, and his wife Annabel, 45, spotted a dolphin on this stretch of the Tay estuary so had their eyes peeled for further sightings.
“The seals are out today and we are trying to find them,” says Annabel.
Annabel grew up in Anstruther but the family home – she is mother to Emilia, 11, and Luck, 8 – is now the Berkshire town of Wokingham.
She regularly returns to the area to visit her mother who lives in Dundee.
“The children enjoy coming here to paddle, make sandcastles and dig holes,” says Annabel.
“The beach isn’t too big so you can keep an eye on the children even when the tide is out.
“There are lifeguards, which is also reassuring.”
“We are generally active people so are not used to sitting around on a beach but there is a lot to look at here,” says Robert.
‘He would happily play all day at the beach’
Playing on the beach is just the job for Downfield boy Emir Duncan.
The seven year old was enjoying a day out with mum Vicky Duncan, 36, who says: “My son loves the beach.
“He is an only-child and going to the park can be too busy for him – he doesn’t know what to do with himself.
“But he would happily play all day at the beach and it feels quite safe.”
Emir says: “I like making sandcastles and digging holes.
“I like it here more than a park because there is so much sand and I can do so much with it.”
For her part, Vicky enjoys “watching the world go by” at Broughty Ferry Beach.
“It’s so nice to have this close to where I live,” she says.
Place for children to socialise
Mother-of-three Amy Anderson says the beach is the ideal place for her children to play safely.
Charleston resident Amy, 34, is happy to let Tabatha, 5, mingle while keeping a close eye on twins Charis and Peter, both 3.
“When we come here there are normally some other kids for Tabath to play with,” says Amy, who works as a part-time dentist at Infinity Blu in Alyth.
“It’s a good place for children to socialise with other children.
“The twins always have each other but the oldest one can find others to play with.”
‘Not a lot of litter, which is surprising’
It is the beach that continues to gain new fans – even those who have lived in the area for a long time.
Bruce Clark, 69, and wife Connie, 67, have been residents of Barry for 13 years but only made their first trip to Broughty Ferry Beach this summer.
“We are from Edinburgh and are not beach people,” says Bruce. “We would rather go to the woods.”
When they went to Broughty Ferry for a day out they did not intend to go to the beach but problems with parking meant they gave it a look.
“It’s lovely – nice and clean,” says Bruce. “There’s not a lot of litter, which is surprising.”
Broughty Ferry Beach is ‘my training ground’
Ferry resident Barbara Sweeney finds the beach the ideal place to keep fit.
She uses the area to prepare for the Loch Lomond Swimrun, which involves a 15k run and 10k swim.
“This is my training ground,” says Barbara. “It’s nice and sandy and clean.”
Great wheelchair access
The beach has excellent accessibility for those in wheelchairs, says one Ferry resident.
Peter Copland, 62, was wheeled along the promenade by his wife Marion, 61, for a day spent watching the world go by.
“The Ferry is flat and there are a lot of lower kerbs,” Peter says. “The access to here from the Windmill car park is great.”