The islands nestled off in the North Atlantic have always had a special allure to me. I spent my first year of life in Scotland and Ireland and then again returned to Ireland when I was 12 for a brief visit. My dad always glowed when he spoke of the people and how they were the kindest people you would ever find. He commented on their rosy cheeks and said you could see the warmth in their eyes.
Somewhere locked in my early consciousness there is the romance of rolling green hills, rocky coasts, fresh air, and the sweet taste of Guinness on my gums. Helped me out a lot when I was teething.
This curiosity was stoked further when my brother and sister moved to London several years ago and I began meeting surfers from the U.K. and Ireland and hearing about the adventures of searching for waves in these cold locales. Hearing of surf trips to the Hebrides and seeing photos of some of the big swells to hit Ireland, Scotland, and Cornwall have certainly piqued my interest in recent years.
One of these places has been brought to my attention recently by a friend that I met while living in Taiwan. We would travel down the coast together and score waves wherever we could. He recently went home to catch up with family and a few waves in a place he calls home. Somewhere near the North Cornwall/North Devon border is where you will find a rugged stretch of coastline that is home to a few rugged waveriders.
You can easily spend years surfing your familiar breaks and missing out on the sense of adventure that comes with the unknown.
The anticipation of the incoming weather, the numerous translations that can arise from the charts, the tides being a major factor…especially in this part of the world all amount to a feeling of the unexpected. In this chart it is pretty clear that it will be going off just about everywhere in the region…but you know what I mean.
You could travel for hours, driving down treacherous roads, hiking across fields, and doing anything you need to do to get a slice of surf paradise for just you and your best mates.
It may require a bit of ingenuity and luck, but with the right information you will be off to a good start.
As my friend and one of the locals, Mike Heard, has put it to me, ‘it’s a very remote, rugged place that can change in seconds due to the never ending stream of weather systems that roll in off the Atlantic! Not easy to find great waves there.
Huge swings in tides (5-7m) narrow country lanes without sign posts, often cold, but seek and you might just find. And if all else fails, there is always the pubs.’