Britain’s most northern nation was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world by readers of the Rough Guides, a notoriously trustworthy bunch.
We’ve done plenty of strike missions; drive for 15 hours, jump on a ferry to the outer isles or score the slabs on the mainland and drive home. If you’re lucky on such excursions, you see some of that award-winning beauty rushing past the window, although more often than not, you arrive and leave in the dark.
This autumn we figured we’d try something a little different. Book a trip in advance, explore bits of the coastline we’d never been to and make time for more varied outdoor activities. It all sounded terribly romantic. However, Scotland is still Britain and although autumn offers the closest thing to an assurance of good waves, nothing’s certain. Accordingly, we chose a group of surfers for the trip who could find a way to have fun no matter what the North Atlantic threw up. They were; Mike Lay, a supremely talented logger and all-around erudite fellow. Candice O’Donnell, an enigmatic longboarder and artist from Newquay, whose joy and creative elegance on less than perfect waves made her an obvious choice. And Seb Smart, an old school friend of Mikey’s who’s evolved from an explosive shortboarder into a talented all-rounder over the course of his career. He’s extremely entertaining on a twinnie, a log, a belly board and with a beer in his hand.
The plan was to bypass the well-known spots and search out river-mouths, bouncy wedges, novelty peelers and loggable points along the expansive coastline.
When we weren’t surfing we spent our time marvelling at the scenery, hiking up mountains, swimming naked in streams and leaping into the sea from any elevated perch we could find. In the evenings, we sat around campfires and explored the regions excellent pubs. No one got an eight-foot bomb at Baggies, but it turns out there’s plenty more to see and surf in Scotland’s unsung corners.
Read the full story from the trip in Vol. 255, out now!