Breaking the Waves; Scotland's top 5 surfing spots
Belhaven Bay is a beautiful stretch of sandy beach which resides snuggly within the John Muir Country Park and stretches from Belhaven all the way to the north of the River Tyne. Water conditions here make it ideal for surfing with a surf school operating directly out of the bay, so if you’re someone who is looking to get into the sport, this is one of the best places to start! When you’re done riding the waves you can also enjoy the pleasant scenery and local habitat; fringed by low, sheltering sand dunes, rich salt marsh and colourful grasslands. The beach is ideal for walking, having picnics and sunbathing and affords splendid views across the Forth Estuary.
At Dunnet Bay you’ll find an unparalleled sweeping arch of gorgeous white sandy beach backed by rolling sand dunes. The bay stretches for over 2 miles whilst still being relatively sheltered from the elements; all of which offers great opportunities to spread out and relax. Whether that be to sunbathe, paddle or swim. The bay is also a haven for other beach sports due both its size and location but it really excels as a playground for experienced surfers. I say experienced because when the winds are high this bay can offer some very dramatic but also challenging surf. So if you do plan on surfing here make sure to check the weather and always bring a buddy!
Quite possibly one of the most famous places to surf in Scotland, Thurso East has earned its reputation as the premier surfing beach in our small country. There are regular surfing competitions here which draw surfers from all across the world; all with varying levels of experience. Offering surf from 2ft to 15ft it is a perfect places for both beginners (on a calmer day) and pros. Located in Northern Scotland and along the NC500 it has become famous for its world class barrels and premier right hand reefbreak. So if you are planning on doing a bit of surfing in Scotland; this should definitely be your first port of call!
Machrihanish, Mull of Kintyre
One of Scotland’s best-kept secrets, Machrihanish is a superb find for surfers. There are said to be “good rivermouth peaks” in the bay, with the best protected surfing to be found at the south end. Westport Sandbar at the north end of Machrihanish Bay can be fickle and is tide-dependant but when it’s good, it’s very, very good. When you’ve spent enough time in your wetsuit you can also enjoy the hospitality of the small village of Machrihanish which offers restaurants, pubs and even a classic links golf course!
Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
The beautiful clean waters of this Outer Hebridean islands boasts stunning white sandy beaches and great swell for surfers, too. Many surfers head to Dalmore, which has a well formed beachbreak that offers a lot of fun when the swell is smaller. When conditions grow, the surf is only for the more experienced as it can be pretty choppy. The Isles of Lewis and Harris - a spectacularly rugged atlantic coastline with numerous empty beaches and a fine selection of renowned reef breaks - pollution free, and washed twice daily by the 5 metre tides of the North Atlantic ocean. The North Atlantic Drift Current, which starts life in the Gulf of Mexico as the tropical Gulf Stream, delivers relatively warm waters to these Western Isles, reaching 16C in summer and rarely dropping below 9C in late winter.
So there you go our pick of some of the top places in Scotland where you can catch some waves for yourself. If you’re someone who is inexperienced and is looking to try surfing for the first time please make sure to attend some lessons first as this sport can be dangerous; particularly in some of Scotland’s rugged coastlines. Always make sure to check local weather conditions and beach reports also before you head out; you can do so at http://magicseaweed.com/.