When people think about surfing and catching big waves, they might think about places like Hawaii, California, Australia, and maybe places in the Caribbean. While all those places certainly do have world-class surfing spots, you’d be surprised about some other places around the world that also have some amazing surfing places. One of those lesser-known areas for surfing is Scotland. The country has plenty of amazing surf spots that many people don’t know about. Although the waters might be a little colder than Hawaii, this country is home to some of the best surfing in Europe. Where the North Atlantic and the North Sea meet is home to some pretty crazy waves that are not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a new place to ride the waves check out some of these amazing surf spots in Scotland, UK
1. Pease Beach
Pease Beach is a pretty popular destination for holiday-goers both local and abroad looking to spend some time on the beach during the summer months. The nearby resorts offer the town of Dunbar a healthy influx of vacationers, and many of them are surfers so you don’t have to worry about finding good accommodation. The beach is award-winning, and not only does it have some amazing waves for surfing but the views here are also pretty incredible.
2. Belhaven Bay
Belhaven Bay stretches all the way to the River Tyne. It is a picturesque space with sand dunes flanking the shoreline and little cottages overlooking the beach. The beach is an ideal place to hang out and enjoy a picnic or do some sunbathing, but of course, the surfing is what you’re here for. This place is a pretty popular surfing spot so there are usually surfers here. Belhaven Bay is good for beginners and experts, and you can even take a class here if you’re just starting out.
Tiree is known as the “Hawaii of the North” and with a name like that, you better believe that there is great surfing to be had here. Tiree is an island in the Hebrides chain and compared to a lot of the UK, the area enjoys plenty of sun and some great waves. Tourism is a pretty big part of the economy of the island, with surfing being a major factor. You’ll definitely find many like-minded surfers looking to catch the next big wave here.
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4. Thurso East
Located just a few miles east of Thurso, in Caithness, is Thurso East. The coastlines face the Atlantic Ocean and it is arguably Scotland’s prime surfing spot on the North Shore. Thurso East is so popular with surfers that international competitions host surfing events here. The swell goes as high as 15 feet (4.6 meters) and ever since they hosted the first “Cold Water Classic” surfing competition back in 2006, this place has been put on the surfing map worldwide.
Although the name might be a little hard to pronounce, Machrihanish is one of the best spots around the west coast for surfing. It is actually most known for golfing, and the courses here are some of the best in Scotland. The golf opportunities brought tourism here, so although you might not be here to golf, you will surely find great accommodations nearby. The sandy beach at Machrihanish runs about three miles (five kilometers) and faces the Atlantic Ocean and Ireland in the distance.
6. Isle of Lewis
Isle of Lewis is not only home to some great surfing but it is also an important part of Scottish identity. The island was once part of the Norse Kingdom, and Scottish Gaelic is still heavily spoken here, not mention the numerous amounts of musical and mythological traditions. Sport is a big part of life on the Isle of Lewis, and that, of course, also encompasses surfing. The northern edge of the island has some amazing waves that attract surfers from all over to surf in the North Sea.
7. Dunnet Bay
The white sandy beaches at Dunnet Bay might make you think you’re in the Caribbean and not in Scotland. Perhaps one of the country’s best-kept secrets, this place is absolutely beautiful. It is located out in the Highlands of Scotland, with Dunnet Bay on the northern side of the town of Dunnet. The bay has some great surfing opportunities. Afterward, you’ll likely just want to hang out on the beach wondering if this is really Scotland or some Polynesian paradise.
8. West Port Beach
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Known as one of the best beaches in Scotland, West Port Beach is located in Argyll on the west coast of the country. The area is not only popular with surfing but with scientists too, since the area is a designated “Site of Scientific Interest”. The beach is sandy, with golf courses to the east, so there’s plenty of peace and quiet to be found. Locals like to come and hang out here, even if they’re not surfing, as it’s nice to walk along the sandy shores. For surfers, the waves here are not too big so it’s a good spot for beginners and intermediates.
Surfing in Scotland
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Scotland has the advantage of being on the confluence of two big masses of water where the waves hit hard, making it a pretty good place for people to come and surf. This country is perhaps not the first place people might think of when they want to surf, especially in Europe, but that just means that the popular surf spots won’t be too crowded. And the people that are in the know about how great the surfing scene can be are always around to help out and let others know that the shores of Scotland do have some pretty great spots to hit the waves
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