Statistically the sunniest and windiest place in the UK, famous for waves, clear waters, white sandy beaches. Why Had I never been to this place? It pretty much ticks all the right boxes. I made the trip up in October. Storm Brian was battering the UK and I had no idea if the ferry would even make it to Tiree. After a hectic drive up, it was calm in Oban and the crossing was smooth. We arrived after dark and blindly followed the sat nav to the cottage.
The next morning we headed out to explore out surroundings. First towards Sandaig, then Kenavara on the South West tip and into Balephuil bay. The Tiree Wave Classic windsurf event was here for the day so it was busy on the water. Not the best weather in the aftermath of the storms. The dog was in his element though. That evening I went back to Balephuil and had a kite session downwind of the windsurf competition. Nice small waves and cross on conditions made for a great session.
We woke up to rain. We had a slow start – still catching up on sleep after the effort to get up here. A drive around to Balevullin and walk in the drizzle. Saw a couple of sea otters. The beach was stunning but the rain made shots look dull. That evening we ventured out for a surf, if its wet anyway you might as well wear a wetsuit.
Another day and finally some sunshine. This time we decided to climb up Kenavara and enjoy the views! That evening it was back to Balephuil for a surf.
The next day we headed east on the island to Gott Bay. It was drizzling again with sunny spells. The water was pretty flat with lil waves coming through. Initially I went to kitesurf, but after feeling the wind decided on the SUP. I needed to put in some time to get used to the low volume.
That evening we met up with Duncan and Polly from Ceabhar – although closed for business for the season, we got to chat and sample some of Duncan’s beers. Highly recommended.
The wind was definitely back. On recommendation from the night before I headed to The Maze. There was no one else out but the conditions looked good so I went for it. A great spot, with some solid waves.
That afternoon the wind died off completely and we went for a big walk taking in the sights and checking out Soroby Bay.
The kiting and monster walk had tired me out. It was a slow start, but the sun was shining so we headed to Balevullin. I really wanted to kite here. I got out but the wind was slightly too cross, meaning that whilst it was windy outside, there was no wind on the wave. After cruising about for a bit I came back in and swapped for the SUP. Staying out till sunset.
The wind was back and I was desperate to find a beach with cross shore waveriding conditions. We checked out Balephetrish Bay which looked great with big waves breaking on the reefs offshore. However the conditions didnt look solid enough and it would be a long swim if anything went wrong.
In the end it was back to the Maze for another solo session. The enclosed nature of the bay and the cross on conditions made this a much safer option. This time the waves were monster big creating towers of white water. I had some good ones, and got put through the spin cycle a couple times.
The last full day! After a walk around the jetty in Scarinish and taking some shots we saw some kites up in nearby Gott Bay. We headed over to see Duncan, Polly and a group of friends from the NE all out kitesurfing. It was windy – people were dropping down to small kites. I suited up and joined them! Despite the waves being ankle biters and a few squalls coming through, it was a pretty fun session. The lower consequence compared to the previous days outing at the Maze meant you could be more aggressive and not worry too much.
On the way out for some beers and chat with the kitesurfers I noticed that finally we could see stars after a week of cloudy nights. I took a quick shot!
After a fun night, all that was left was to pack up and mission home! The first section from Oban past Lochs Awe and Lomond was stunning.
Tiree is well worth a visit for anyone into kiting/surfing/sup.