Surfing

North Uist offer some of the most unspoiled and beautiful beaches in Britain and with the right wind and swell conditions, is capable of producing superb surfing. The surf spots are mostly beach breaks, but tow in surfing off of some of the off-shore slabs is a definite possibility on a large swell. On the beach breaks, there are few hazards, but as with all unfamiliar surf spits, it is important to respect the power of the ocean and to be prepared for the extreme changeability of the Hebridean weather. Large surf will coincide with powerful rips at all the spots.

Baleshare (Am Baile Sear ‘The East Town’) is a long southwest facing beach at the southwest end of North Uist. It only works in a SW swell due to the prominent shelf occluding other swell directions. It is offshore in a NE wind. It rarely works, but when it does, it can produce beautiful long rights and lefts and the occasional barrel. On a small day (which is the norm), this is the safest beach for swimmers and children. There is a small car park which provides access to the beach. The name of the island, Baleshare, is interesting: it implies that there is an older western town (AmBaile Siar) now somewhere under the waves.

Hosta is a NW facing beach which is directly open to the ocean’s power and is generally a summer surfing beach with a short but thrilling lefts. Even in moderate (shoulder high) sized left, it has a rip on the north end of the beach by the rocks. Poor swimmers and children should avoid this beach altogether, as it has taken a few lives over the years. Confident surfers can use the rip as a conveyor belt out to the line-up but pay attention to rogue sets. It is not unusual for Hosta to go from overhead to double overhead in a short time, particularly in winter swells. When it does, it is capable of world class surf, but also has heavy consequences. There is a car park at Hosta. Make sure to close the gate by the end of the road so the resident cattle don’t escape and do not drive onto the dunes. Hosta is represented on Magic Seaweed giving forecasts and conditions.

Sollas is a long, breath-taking NW facing beach and is offshore with a SE wind. It is perhaps the most consistent of the Uist beaches and a fine place for beginners and advanced surfers alike. The lefts generally have more power than the rights. Access is rather fraught, and you will need a 4×4 to get down to the breaks. You can go via Grenitote, but this is tide dependent. If you go this route, make sure to park by the gate far away from the dunes or you risk raising the ire of the local crofters (and the local surfers; you’ll be giving them a bad name). If you want to go to the middle of the beach, you take the rough road opposite the Co-op and carry on down the machair. It is not very passable when the road is wet. Again, make sure to close the gate.

 

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