The post below covers the top surfing spots in Scotland and was originally published on Traveler Magazine.
Most people do not think of surfing when they think of Scotland. Rolling green hills and expansive stone castles come to mind, overtaking the greater part of the luscious countryside with breathtaking beauty. Scotland is also famous for golf and where the game was originally invented. Less known to the general population, the United Kingdom’s northernmost country has become an international surfing hotspot.
Europie is tucked away off the coast of the mainland of Scotland on the island of Lewis. Three to ten-foot swells are created by this popular beach break location, but it can be a finicky destination due to the high prevalence of Atlantic storms and countrywide frigid water temperatures. The rustic location is etched in a pristine backdrop of crystal clear water and bright white sands and attracts a smaller, local surfing crowd with experience evaluating the quickly changing conditions.
Located on the other side of Farr Bay, Torrisdale is a remarkable river break location with well-known stand-up barrels. Strong currents make this spot suitable for the more advanced surfers but as a beginner, it is possible to catch the waves on a gentler day, as the swells are sometimes only a few feet high. The mile-long beach enjoys sprawling golden sands equally appealing for ocean vacationers.
This more remote river-fed location is lined with reef and even the typically smaller swells can be exciting for long boarding and short boarding alike. It is a quiet location geared towards the average surfer. Plan to enjoy the waves at lower tide since the swells tend to close out when overhead.
This lefthand reef offers some of the most quality surfing in Scotland. The wind is generally strong and blows in the westerly direction creating solid rips at mid to high tide. The rideable swells can reach heights of more than twelve feet. Don’t leave your shortboard behind!
Stretching, elegant, righthand peelers attract surfers from all over the state. Complete with a sandbar along the north end, this bay brags consistently decent breaks and therefore can often be crowded. Be aware that the waves can occasionally be slow to break and funnel rides into exceedingly shallow water. It is not recommended to attempt surfing at low tide.
Deceivingly peaceful views overshadow the veracity of the tides often encountered here. An impressive left-hand point break produces weighty lines sometimes exceeding ten feet in height. A slab-stone reef bottom makes for an ideal short boarding location.
One of the most popular, promising, and yet frigidly cold surf spots in Scotland. A reefy bottom is covered by Arctic-fed swells funneled down a channel making for easy mounting rips. World-class barrels promise one of the highest quality locations in all of Europe with swells exceeding ten feet in height.
The place to be for surfing in Scotland, Brims Ness features the Scotland 6-Star Prime O’Neill Cold Water Classic, drawing the best surfers in the world for riveting competition. It is the most consistent and quality surf spot in all of Scotland, but dangerous swells and shallow shelves make it recommended for expert surfers only. Even the most advanced riders often wear helmets at this location. However, it is not a spot to pass up, and nine out of ten times there will be promising waves.