First Windsurfer To Go AROUND Tiree?

Stephen Squirrel winds around the isle of Tiree in light, summer winds, congratulations Stephen! A great day adventure, a lot more fun that just blasting back and forth we thing. Check out the full report from Stephen’s day…

Monday 24th June – First windsurfer to circumnavigate Tiree or am I ????

Stephen Squirrel, completing his journey around Tiree
Stephen Squirrel, completing his journey around Tiree

Windsurfing: Balephtrish Bay-Tiree

Wind Direction: nw

Wind Stength: 8/14

Surf / Sea State: big

Air Temperature: 15

Sea Temperature: 10

Weather: sunny periods

Max Speed: 15.20 (knots – unless stated otherwise)

Distance Covered: 35 (Nautical Miles – unless stated otherwise)

After yesterday’s cloudy, windy day the wind eased in the night and we woke to a light breeze and sunshine :)

We both did our exercises by the van in Peter and Sally’s garden, I even managed to hose the salt off the van and then decided this was my last chance of a longboard cruise as the wind is forecast to drop right off.

I rigged the 9.4 in the garden had a quick breakfast and told Mag I would ring her if I made it to Crossapol on the opposite side of the island. Peter helped me get my gear to the beach and I left Balephetrish Bay at 10.15 with a crowd of 3 cheering me on from the beach :)

I headed NE in about 12 mph of wind, too light for the longboard really but I could ride down the waves and made good progress to Gunna Sound, sailing in the entrance was a bit wobbly but as soon as I passed the green bouy the sea smoothed off and I headed over and landed on a wonderful beach on Coll but couldn’t find the chocolate bar I had put in the neck of my wetsuit :(

I tried to ring Mag but had no signal. I set off again toward Gott bay in even lighter winds thinking I would not make Crossapol :(

When level with Gott the wind increased a little, just as well as the ferry was heading toward the harbour!!! I then decided to go for the around the island trip so reached the whole length of Tiree giving the rocky point at Hynish a wide berth!!!

1013506_10200568440506139_327455578_nI was hoping that when I got clean wind on the east end of the island the beat would be plan sailing but the sea was big and the wind too light :( but I had to press on as there was nowhere to land. I passed only the second boat I saw all day,two men fishing in a large inflatable, one of the anglers caught two nice fish as I passed:) I made it to Balephuil Bay thinking I was well on my way back – wrong!!!

The Skerryvore lighthouse was clearly visible but it was slow going and as I rounded the cliffs at Kenavara things were difficult as the wind dropped right off and the sea had a big swell so I headed for a sandy beach,met a dog walker in a 4×4 and told me I was near Sandaig and it was miles to Balephetrish:( so I gave Mag a ring to see if she could pick me up. I then realised she could not get anywhere near me in the van so headed out to sea again and landed on Sandaig large pebble beach and rang Mag to tell her where I was. She was having fun riding around looking for me and taking photos of highland cattle:) She found me in the end and she made me lunch at 3.13 and I got off my wetsuit and carried my sail up to the van thinking I had no chance of completing the trip, but refreshed by my food and drink I checked my wind gauge and with 10 mph+ I decided to continue.

I put on my spare wetsuit leaving Mag to clear things away and headed toward The Maze with Mag following in the van, she would stop at the lovely surf beach at Balevullin to see that I was okay. Progreess was very slow on the reachy/run in light airs in the big sea!!! I had to head around several large lumps of rock and small islands and by the time I was opposite Balephetrish Bay I was a long way out and had a long painful dead run back to the beach to next to no wind!!!

I made it back ashore with Mag taking pics at 6 absolutely knackered but sooooooooooooooo pleased to have made it :) Peter came out with a celebratory beer :) So after covering 35 n/miles in nearly 8 hours this is the biggest Island I have sailed round and can add to the list that include Mersea, Hayling, Brownsea, Osea, Sheppey and an island near Canne in France !!! To end the day I had a wonderful hot shower in the Lings ‘Boat House’ a top meal prepared by Mag washed the salt off my sail, played Phase 10(a card game) and crawled shattered into bed – let’s hope for some sunny no wind day before we have to leave the beautiful Tiree this Thursday and head to the Outer Herbides so I can have a rest!!! Top day :)

Does anyone know if anyone has windsurfed around Tiree before?

  1. House

    Fair enough effort most prob the first. Respect where due.

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