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Blue Scotland's Guide: Top Five Scottish Island Surfing Destinations

Woman surfing on Barra

Blue Scotland is a guidebook to Scotland's wild Blue Spaces for wild swimming, paddle boarding, surfing, and kayaking. The islands off the west coast of Scotland are a mecca for surfers from across the globe and are all easily accessed by CalMac links: Here are Blue Scotland's top five island surfing destinations:

1. The Isle of Vatersay

Lying directly below the Isle of Barra is the most southerly inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides archipelago, Vatersay. This island is a literal paradise on a calm, warm day and a wild, raging land when the weather rolls in. 

After you cross the causeway from Barra, on the westerly side of the road, you have the beach of Traigh Shar. This beach is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean, with no land to break its path until you reach the Americas. This is a great surfing and windsurfing destination. Here you will find crystal clear water, empty waves, glorious white sand and often the local herd of cows casually grazing on seaweed and checking the surf conditions.


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2. North Uist

Nestled on the west coast of North Uist is one of the Outer Hebrides' most famous surf spots, Hosta. Here you will find a beautiful white shell-sand beach backed by high sand dunes and acres of flowering Machair, as well as some pretty consistent north Atlantic swell.

Hosta is a northwest facing beach, capable of holding huge swell rolling in from the North Atlantic, it is best surfed on a rising mid to high tide. The infamous rip is at the north end of the beach by the rocks and can appear even in moderate sized swell.


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3. Sollas, North Uist

The beach at Sollas is one of the finest on the island of North Uist. Remote, quiet, and raw. Sollas is a superb surfing destination for beginners and advanced surfers alike and a fun place to have a swim amongst the crashing Atlantic waves. 

Sollas beach is not the easiest to access, it lies about a mile from the nearest road. However, I can promise you that the trek down to the sand is worth it to experience this epic beach. The safest way to reach the beach is to park near the Coop shop in Sollas village and hike down, this way the machair and local wildlife is protected.


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4. Scarista, Isle of Harris

Scarista beach on the southwest tip of the Isle of Harris is an example of the Outer Hebrides at its finest. Here you will find a backdrop of the rounded mountains of South Harris easing into Machair covered dunes, fine golden sand, clear turquoise water and peeling surfable waves rolling in from the north Atlantic.

When the surfing is good on the Isle of Harris, it is always good at Scarista. The beach faces northwest, open to the forces of the North Atlantic. Unlike beaches on Harris there is limited protection from the geography of nearby islands and headlands, meaning that the waves here in Autumn and Winter can be giants. 

Scarista is a popular spot for surfing in the Outer Hebrides, and by Hebridean standards this means there are often never more than a handful of surfers in the water at once.


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5. Tiree

The Isle of Tiree is the most westerly isle of the Inner Hebrides and Scotland's mecca for watersports. Often referred to as 'The Hawaii of Scotland', the Isle of Tiree attracts people from across the globe for kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing and paddle boarding.

In terms of surfing, it's west and south coast are perfectly positioned to attract some pretty big North Atlantic swells. However, Tiree is also renowned for being incredibly windy, the prevailing wind blows onshore from the South-West, so for perfect surf conditions with an offshore wind and large Atlantic swell a few stars do have to align. But when they do, Tiree can be a world class surfing destination.

A great starting point on any surf trip to Tiree is Balevullin Beach where you will find family run surf company Blackhouse Watersports who are a great source of local knowledge on the conditions. 


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Blue Scotland  is the ultimate guidebook to exploring Scotland's wild waters written by Guinness world record breaking adventurer Mollie Hughes, with mesmerising photography from Rachel Keenan . Get your copy now


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