Sandwood Bay Reviews and Ratings
(Scotland – West Coast, UK)
Visitor reviews of Sandwood Bay surf break
March 10, 2010
Rob Davies from United Kingdom
Remote Sandwood Bay has some of the beast coastal scenery in the British Isles. It's a huge beach with tall cliffs at either end, a few granite outcrops and big shallow lake behind that gets warm for a swim on long summer days. The rock climbing in these parts is an excellent alternative to surfing if there is no swell. Pristine water and white sands make for very similar scenery to the Outer Hebrides.
It's a long walk across the moor, and the sandflies can be hellish, so it pays to check the surf where you park at Oldshoremore before setting out. This is your last chance to pick up supplies.
If there is small (say knee to waist high) and clean surf here, Sandwood Bay will be pumping but if Oldshoremore looks like it is already your kind of size, stay here and surf it instead because Sandwood will be much too big and you'll waste a lot of time and effort getting there.
I've only been to Sandwood 3 times but each time I camped over for 2 or 3 days. For most of the time it was small and it turns out that even the most exposed beach on the Scottish mainland can get flat in summer.
When the swell did arrive, I found the best shoulders were to be had right down at the southern end where the beach becomes rocky. A very consistent left here on a boulder bottom. The rest of the beach seemed to be mostly closing out but with a steep sand profile, rock outcrops and a rivermouth, I could imagine that this little snapshot might not be representative.
Camping out in the open, or even on the beach, can seem like a good idea if you arrive in fine weather but bear in mind that such conditions don't generally last long. If the weather comes in, you'd be much better off camping amongst the big rock outcrops that you will see to your left as you first approach the beach. Some overhangs here can provide a lot of shelter from SW wind and rain.
Sandwood Bay Ratings
Based on 2 votes. Vote
Quality on a good day: 3.0
(1 star: Even when the swell and winds are optimum, the waves are poor quality, 5 stars: If conditions are right, the waves will be World Class).
Consistency of Surf: 3.0
(1: Sandwood Bay is a fickle surf spot that only works a few times a year. 5: Reliable year-round spot).
Regional Rating: 4.0
(1: Sandwood Bay is usually very poor quality compared to other spots in Scotland - West Coast. 5: the best break in Scotland - West Coast).
Difficulty Level: 3.0
(1: Suitable for Groms. 3: Intermediates. 5: Expert tow-in surfers only).
Other Options: 1.0
(1: If wind or tide conditions are poor at Sandwood Bay, it will be poor everywhere nearby. 5: other locations nearby provide a rich variety of wind and swell exposures).
Water Quality: 5.0
(1: Known health risks from pollution. 5: Never any pollution).
(1: Often too crowded. 5: Sandwood Bay is an isolated spot where you are unlikely to meet other surfers).
(1: Getting to Sandwood Bay requires an overland expedition or chartering a boat. 3: A 30 minute walk from the nearest parking. 5: Park a vehicle right by the break).
(1: An ugly industrial backdrop. 5: A spectacular setting).
Local Attitude: 5.0
(1: Locals are hostile to visitors. 5: Either there are no locals who surf, or else they are accommodating and friendly).
(1: No convenient places to stay indoors. 5: A wide variety of accommodation near Sandwood Bay for all budgets from hostels to luxury hotels).
(1: Camping at Sandwood Bay is not possible. 3: Camping tolerated but no facilities. 5: A nearby camp ground has excellent facilities and a good vibe).
(1: Besides the surf and the solitude there is nothing to do when it is flat. 5: Sandwood Bay is in such an interesting area to visit that getting wet is a bonus).
Equipment and Repairs: 1.0
(1: Nothing can be sourced, not even wax. 5: Quality surfing equipment can be purchased or hired. Major repairs can be fixed too).
(1: Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. 5: A wide variety of places to eat and drink at Sandwood Bay, from fast food and cafes to fancy restaurants).
(1: Alcohol is not allowed in the country. 5: There is an excellent pub near Sandwood Bay where you can stay or park a camper van overnight).
Based on 2 votes. Vote