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Friday, 03 July 2020
Home arrow Trips arrow Road trips arrow Thurso trip 3
Thurso trip 3

''Last time we headed up there, it was an 11ft forecast and we got skunked for wind but scored some epic surfing. This time it's 25@16, 26@15, 16@14 and 20@14 with shed loads of wind.

Hopefully we'll do a bit better this time.......''

That was my blog entry last Tuesday night before leaving for a 4 day trip up to the north coast of Scotland with Si Crowther. I think it's fair to say we've just recieved a pretty bad skunking and I had some bad luck thrown in too. Funny thing is the forecast never really changed, infact at times it improved (one check on seaweed suggested we had 42ft on the way for Friday morning with wind!) but it just didn't materialise...

This is going to be pretty short and sweet, firstly because I didn't score a whole lot of waves and secondly because with Si around there wasn't much point in getting my camera out or sticking on the GoPro.



We nearly didn't make it up there! Around Aviemore it started to blizzard and the road was 2inch thick with snow in about 10 minutes flat with poor visibility, but we trundled on at 30mph and eventually arrived at 3am.



It was bloody cold! We knew the peak of the wind and swell would be early, so we manned up and got out there at dawn. We checked a spot I've had my eye on for ages which needs a huge NW swell -the swell was there, but the wind was too offshore. We checked other spots but the tide was too high (5m peak spring high tide at 9am). I launched at Murkle point when the tide had uncovered the reef but the wind promptly dropped and swung bolt offshore...

So off to find some surf! Thurso East was empty and pumping, so I grabbed the 6'8 semi gun and headed out. It wasn't long before the gentle force 2 turned into a bolt offshore force 9 and I started to worry about getting blown out to sea, not too mention that it was now too windy to make the drop. So started to paddle in, got caught in the wrong place, and snapped my board....

Still smiling at this point...


The wind was supposed to last until 3pm -pretty much all day. We waited at Murkle for the tide to drop sufficiently, by 11am we were on, but yet again the wind fecked off...

So back to Thurso East for another surf. It was still pretty big, good double overhead plus barrells, and I needed the 6'8 which was now in 2 bits. I took the 6'1 and thought I'd pick off some of the smaller ones (still pretty huge). This meant getting cleaned up every 15minutes by set waves (because I wasn't sat right out back) and generally getting a good paddle workout without many rides. On the bright side watching local legend Chris Noble picking up house sized lumps on the horizon and getting fully slotted on some absolute bombs on his Rhino chaser was a total pleasure..  some crazy power.


The swell had dropped off considerably but still a healthy 20 odd foot on the forecast for the morning. Yet again high tide was 9am, but today we were due to get solid westerly wind all day with sunshine so not an issue... Finally we were on! It looked perfect.
I launched at Murkle and worryingly felt surprisingly underpowered on my 5 0, and within 10 minutes I was blobbing. f**k, a**e, t*t, b****r, w**k, mother f***r...   ground hog day.


So that was pretty much it, 3 nearlies in a row. Except that whilst trying to lauch off the reef in no wind I banged my knee.. then found when I took my wetsuit off I'd bizarely managed to spike something straight through my knee cap. Really should have taken a pic as it was pretty gruesome -I don't want to pull apart the skin for another look now I've stuck a plaster on it though...  I'm still hobbling straight legged..  hope it heals ok as I really couldn't be bothered to spend another 5hrs of my life in casualty and I want to surf next weekend.

Here's a few line up pics...





Oh we did a lot of snooping too. Seems Si is also a keen snooper!
And this provided the highlight of the trip. The picture at the top of the page may not look much, but that my friends is number 10s, a new super gnarly super secret super slab! which looks like this on it's day....

So all in all we got a weird kind of skunking where we still had plenty of wind and waves (howling through the nights..) but nothing really came together with tide, light and wind at daily cycles which didn't overlap for more than half an hour and left us spending much of the days chasing our tails or undergunned. The swell never really seemed that big either considering. It was still an enjoyable worthwhile trip though and we'll be better prepared for next time.. (which has to be 3rd time lucky surely?!?!?)

The only really gutting thing, was to miss all that wind and swell in England...

Si has a whole bundle of epic pics from the trip, think he left pretty happy!

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