Just ahead of Scotland’s top windsurfing event, the Tiree Wave Classic, Jo Morgan slithers into her wet suit and tests the waters
Scotland’s plentiful supplies of wind and water make it a fantastic destination for windsurfing. ‘But isn’t it cold?’ I hear you ask. My dear readers, don’t be so defeatist. All you need is a decent wet suit, rock-solid determination, and an acceptance that those who don’t fall in are simply not trying hard enough.
Just so we are clear about this, I have to confess that my surfing is normally attempted in sunnier climes where falling in gives you a welcome break from the heat. But here I am, on the shores of Loch Insh with the waves rolling and the wind howling … The perfect recipe for a day out on the water.
I venture to the best inland windsurfing centre Scotland has to offer, Loch Insh Watersports, and within minutes they’ve got me all kitted out and have assigned me my own personal instructor to take me through my paces.
The centre is ideal for beginners, boasting an array of equipment and knowledgeable staff. We play for a good hour, up and down the loch. After several wet dunks and impromptu drinks of loch water later, we reluctantly return to the shore with grins from ear to ear.
Luckily for us our adventure isn’t over yet. The Cairngorms National Park is home to Loch Morlich, so we head to Glenmore Forest Campsite for the night in preparation for our next thrill. In the morning we clamber out of our tent, stroll through the pine trees and emerge on a beautiful sandy beach that is home to Loch Morlich Watersports.
Their surf shack is brimming with equipment and friendly staff who soon kit us out and let us loose on their loch. As we are surfing along it is hard to believe we are in Scotland. The sun is plentiful as we race up and down the loch battling waves and gusts that inevitably result in the occasional loss of balance followed by a momentary loss of dignity. But trust me, you won’t care – you will just want more.
Windurfing is ridiculously great fun and once you have mastered the basics you will soon be convinced that you too could pull off amazing moves like the Tiree freestylers – just perhaps not on purpose!
Tiree Wave Classic Info
The Tiree Wave Classic will return to Tiree from 10-16 October. At the six-day event, extreme adrenaline-fuelled action is guaranteed as some of the world's best windsurfers come together to brave the full Atlantic furies of wind and waves off this remote island, competing in freestyle, wave jumping and supercross events.
Tiree is the most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides and claims the most sunshine hours in the British Isles, as well as the highest average wind speed. And wind is GOOD! Exposed to powerful North Atlantic swells, extreme winds and breathtaking white sandy beaches, it’s the perfect place for the would-be champs to battle it out on the high seas.
This year will be the 23rd anniversary of the competition and it continues to attract participants from across the globe. The £5,000 prize fund might help with that. There’s also plenty to keep spectators interested, with a jam-packed activity schedule of kite surfing, catamaran sailing, surf kayaking, blo karting and much more.
The Tiree Wave Classic will be held on the Isle of Tiree, Scotland, from 10-16 Oct. For more information visit www.tireewaveclassic.com