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Grampian Kitesurf Guide

Many thanks to Synergy Kite Sports for the following guide. Synergy was set up at the end of 2005 by Maggie and Mark to deliver quality training in kitesports and to promote these sports in the North East of Scotland. Both BKSA/IKO Level 2 qualified instructors, they have extensive instructing experience from some of the world’s best locations and offer a range of courses in a wonderful area for kitesurfing. For more info, visit www.synergykitesports.co.uk

ABERDEEN AND THE NORTH EAST

Just to the north of the city of Aberdeen is the start of a beach which stretches unspoilt and uninterrupted for 11 and a half miles. With it’s beautiful golden sands and impressive dune systems this beach offers an extensive playground for kitesurfers from wave riding to freestyle and even down winders covering the entire 11 and half miles. There are three main access points to this stretch of beach, all of which are located within nature reserves and it is therefore advised that users park in the car parks provided and adhere to good practice both on and off the water. As with many beaches in the UK high tides can vastly reduce the amount of usable beach space and consideration for other users is advised.

Don

Bridge of Don (O.S. Landranger 38)-

Located just to the north of the city this part of the beach is the main area used as it offers easy access with good conditions. It is ideal for beginner to pro offering both flat water and waves depending on the swell. When the wind is on shore here it is advised beginners use the lower tides as it can be difficult to get away from the beach. Though it may be tempting to use the flat waters of the river mouth, this is not permitted at any time due to being a nature reserve.

Parking: GR951 095- Follow Donmouth Road along the North bank of the River Don, to the car park at the end. Parking in the car park is free. Please do not park on the road as this blocks residents parking as well as access for emergency vehicles

Wind: Best used in NE to Southerly winds

Hazards: There are on the beach a number of pill boxes and concrete blocks left over from the second world war which can be hidden at high tides and are on occasion covered by sand.

Facilities: The Don View pub is situated at the end of the road away from the beach. You are also only ten minutes from the city centre.

Balmedie (O.S. Landranger 38)-

Balmedie

A beautiful section of the beach with its impressive backdrop of sand dunes Balmedie offers slightly more challenging conditions with a generally larger and more broken swell. Mid to low tides can however reveal large pools of buttery flat water.

Parking: GR978182. Follow the A90 north from Aberdeen for approx 5 miles taking the turn off for Balmedie. Drive through the village following signs to the country park. This will bring you to the car park which is a 5 minute walk from the beach.

Wind: Usable winds are NE to SSW

Hazards: There is an outlet pipe running out to sea which is exposed at low tide, however it is sometimes buried by the sands. There are also a number of pill boxes and concrete blocks at various intervals along the beach. Wooden posts are occasionally exposed by the shifting sand and at mid to high tides hidden by the water. It is advised to view the beach at low tide in order to identify these and avoid kiting near them. Occasionally strong rip currents are present here due to the ever changing topography of the sands creating channels and pools of water. This does however also create large flat water pools to kite on at lower tides.

Facilities: At the beach there is plenty of parking (pay and display during summer) and free toilets. In the village there is a local shop and a co-op and the White Horse pub serves good food as well as offering accommodation.

Newburgh (O.S. Landranger 38)-

Newburgh

Situated at the northern end, Newburgh offers two beaches for kite surfing and can produce some awesome wave riding conditions. There is also a large estuary offering flat water conditions however the wind can be very gusty and it is also a nature reserve.

Parking: Follow the A90 north from Balmedie for about 2 and a half miles and turn right onto the A975 to Newburgh. GR003 247. Allows access to the beach south of the River Ythan via a ten minute walk. GR004 271. Gives access to the beach north of the River Ythan via a 2km walk

Wind: Usable winds are NE to SSW

Hazards: If kiting on the beach to the north of the river avoid the northern end of the beach as the wind gets very gusty around the cliffs and there are also rocks hidden in the shallows.

Facilities: Within the village there are a number of shops as well as pubs offering good food and accommodation.

Cruden Bay (O.S. Landranger 30)-

About 10 miles north of Newburgh is Cruden Bay. This 3km curved beach with its flat sands offers good shallow waters with small to large waves. The beach is also ideal for kite buggy and land board users. Access to the beach is gained via the wooden bridge over the river.

Parking: GR093 362. Following the A975 north from Newburgh will bring you into Cruden Bay. At the bottom of the hill the road bears left over a narrow bridge. Turn right immediately after this and follow past the shop. The parking bays are on the right hand side opposite the public toilets.

Wind: NE to S are best

Hazards: At the southern end of the beach are a number of rocks which can be hidden at high tides.

Facilities: Parking within the bays is free with public toilets located opposite. There are a number of small shops and local pubs and a hotel.

Cruden BayFraserburgh

Fraserburgh Bay (O.S. Landranger 30)-

About 35 miles north of Aberdeen is Fraserburgh Bay. Flanked on its western side by the town of Fraserburgh and on its eastern side by a rock reef and Cairnbulg Point this beach offers some of the best wave riding conditions in the north east of Scotland.

Parking:GR021 647. Following the A90 north from Aberdeen it is about a 45 minute drive. As you come into Fraserburgh turn right at the round about towards tesco and right again at the second round about following B9033. About 2km along this road turn left into the nature reserve car park. The beach is accessed via the boardwalk over the dunes.

Wind: NW to NE is best. W and E can be very gusty.

Hazards: The main boardwalk from the car park brings you onto the beach right in front of quite a nasty rip current. It is best to head up the beach towards the town a little way to avoid this area. There are a number of ww2 pill boxes along the beach. Avoid launching and landing at high tides as the dunes produce very turbulent winds.

Facilities: At the western end of the beach there is a café serving good hot food and a surf club with public toilets. There is also a small caravan park here for those wanting accommodation a stone throw from the water. The town itself has a variety of shops including a surf shop.
Base for the 3rd round of the 2005 BKSA championships was the Tufted Duck Hotel in St Combs which offers good food and accommodation.

THE MORAY COAST

Heading west along the Moray Firth are many beaches, each offering good conditions for kite surfing and land kiting. These are just a few.

Boyndie

Boyndie Bay (Banff links) (O.S Landranger 29)-

Boyndie Bay is a very kite friendly location, with no dunes and no major hazards. It’s also a popular surf break among the local surfers, who have a surf club right by the beach. The water state is usually a lot flatter than at Fraserburgh, which makes it a good venue for beginners and intermediate riders.

Parking:GR672 645. Coming from the west and leaving Banff on the A98, approximately 1 kilometre out of town turn right. Turn right again past the hotel, park in the car park before the caravan park entrance.

Wind: NW through N to E

Hazards: The beach is flanked on either side by small area’s of rock and at high tide the water comes right up to the pebble bank.

Facilities: There is a caravan park right next to the beach and a hotel just behind the car park.
The town of Banff itself has a number of shops including a surf shop.

Nairn (O.S.Landranger 27)-

Nairn

Nairn has two usable beaches for kite surfing. One to the west and one to the east of the town. The beach to the east is the largest of the two and offers both wave conditions on the sea and flat water on a large lagoon.

Parking: GR897 574. Travelling west on the A96 turn off right just before the bridge over the River Nairn. This road runs parallel to the river and leads to the entrance of the caravan park. Drive through the caravan park to the car park at the far end.

Wind: W through N to NE

Hazards: A pipe from the water works runs out to sea on the east beach. Be aware of harbour traffic if using the west beach.

Facilities: Parking with public toilets. Caravan site next to east beach. Plenty of accommodation, pubs and shops within the town.

Ardersier (O.S. Landranger 27)-

The south west facing bay of Ardersier offers shallow flat water conditions for all levels of rider.
Parking:GR780 557. From the A96 take the B9006 towards Fort George. Take this road straight through the village of Ardersier and the car park is on the left just opposite the visitor centre.

Wind: SW to W

Hazards: The top of the beach is a pebble bank which can be dodgy for launching and landing at high tides. The south east corner of the beach is made up of shingle and can be very sharp underfoot. At low tide beware of kiting past Fort George and out into the main channel of the Firth.

Facilities: There is a shop in the village and the visitor attraction of Fort George is worth a look if the wind isn’t blowing.

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