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NE Scotland Surf Guide

This area of Scotland is famous for its legendary reefs which produce some of Europe’s best surf. Although fickle, when good swell hits this stretch of coast you can guarantee there’ll be no shortage of top surfers ripping it up. Winds are often relentless here and the reefs can hold massive surf.

Strathy is a sheltered beachbreak offering protection from westerly winds. Just further on, Melvich is a quality reef which is better in a decent sized swell churning out both right and lefthanders. Sandside Bay is located near the infamous Dounreay nuclear plant. Good waves in shallow water can be found here and the power plant takes care of the crowds! Brimms Ness has a few reefs which will make the most of any swell going. However, if the wind is anything but offshore, its exposed nature means it won’t handle these winds well. Then again, when it all comes together, this is a classic area for the more experienced surfer.


Now then, Thurso. This place has an amazing reputation for a reason. It’s awesome. It can get massive heavy waves here which can throw out perfect tubes. When it does, it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and demands respect. Be smart in forecasting the conditions and you will experience one of Europe’s best waves. Dunnet Bay and Murkle Point face to the west and so offer an alternative in an easterly wind.

Skirza, Sinclairs and Ackergill are breaks which work on occasional south east swells and can be surf trip saviours when north swells are non-existent.

The Orkney Islands are true surfing gems where top waves go unridden on an alarmingly regular basis. These remote islands are not your average destination but they have the same type of reefs that make Thurso famous. Enough said.

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