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National Windsurfing Championships 2018
Iona receiving her trophy from Guy Cribb having come first in her fleet (4.5m)

Tiree - magical Western Isle

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If you want to go windsurfing somewhere different from the usual hot and mostly windy places, to a place where they (almost!) speak your language, and the need for a cup of tea is understood, and the Coop sells everything you need for a wide range of exciting meals, then Tiree is the place for you.

The westernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, Tiree is one of the sunniest and certainly the windiest place in Britain. It is blessed with sailable beaches that face just about every compass direction, and if that's not enough, a freshwater loch in the middle if it's all too much on the sea! The beaches are silver sand, from shells, and look like they're in the Caribbean, especially when the sun's out across the blue water. I've surfed with seals, and had days from easygoing cruising on flat water in Gott Bay to F7+ with head-high waves at Crossapol. Even the names of the beaches are evocative - Ballevulin, Bailephuil, Crossapol, Gott Bay, the Maze. So there's something for pretty much most level of windsurfers, and even a hire shop and tuition available at Wild Diamond, run by Willy.

There are lots of places to stay, B&B, rooms, houses, camping - the island's new industry is tourism, since growing sheep and cattle is pretty hard work and the young people have an enthusiasm for outdoor sport that sells well, and it keeps them on the island. But it's not the Costa del Glasgow, people have a real sense of the value of the place and most tourists are there for birdwatching, walking, or just chilling in a place with the most amazing big skies and wonderful light. There are a couple of pubs, and probably one hotel, the Tiree Lodge. The population is around 800 when not bolstered by tourists, so most people are pretty well-known!

You get to the island by ferry from Oban - this is a four hour trip, via Coll, the next door island. The boat leaves at 7am, gets back about 3 or 4pm. For us Southerners, that's like a 9 hour drive before you get on the boat, so yes, it's almost as far as Tarifa! But the tea is better :)

Last updated: 04/05/07 08:45 By: Andrew
Views: 3604


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