Finding the Best Beaches for Surfing While Road-tripping in the Outer Hebrides by

Journal Notes

Take a land seeped in Celtic mythology and tradition with a history of human habitation dating back to the Stone Age pepper it with deserted, powder-soft white sand beaches lapped by impossibly tinted turquoise waters create a backdrop of ancient and majestically carved volcanic mountains finally, but perhaps most importantly, lay it open to receive some of the best surf Atlantic shores have to offer The remote Outer Hebrides island chain delivers everything on my ideal surfing destination wish list......almost. The waters here are bone-jarringly cold, the islands exposed to dangerously savage weather and surfing on a Sunday is just not acceptable to the hardy but devout island folk.

Luckily the swell has hit mid-week so my partner Chris and I wriggle into our wetsuits, grimacing – they are still unpleasantly damp from our last surf session. Tucking our boards under our arms we make our way through a field full of horned Highland Cattle, who all turn to gaze at us suspiciously through curly brown bangs. I can already hear the roar of the surf and although I have been surfing for years that sound still stirs something deep in my soul.

After walking down a beach where our footprints are the only ones marking the sand, I paddle out into the surf. The first wave I push through sends an icy trickle of water down the back of my wetsuit but moments later I have made it out beyond the breaking waves. I sit up on my board to take a breather and in doing so am suddenly struck by the majesty of my surroundings. Yep - as good as it gets, I think to myself but nature chooses to put the icing on the cake for me as two dolphins cruise by. Suddenly the cold feels like a very small price to pay.

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