The North East

Findhorn Bay

Flat sailing for a short period around high tides. Shallow and sandy. Good fun dodging boats & buoys. Stay away from the mouth when the tide turns! Much sailed by RAF Kinloss personnel. viewmap

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Very large sandy beach, goes on for miles. To get there go to Nairn and basically go to the harbour. There is a small windsurf shop there the only one in the North as far as I am aware. Go in and speak to the folk there, I am sure they would be pleased for any custom, spare parts etc, help with info. As there are not many sailers about.

Park on the left of the small harbour (facing the sea) if there is any space, or in the carpark 100 yard further down. Rig on grass on left. Walk down to the beach and sail to the West (left) of the harbour. It's a good reference to where you started from. You need to get your bearings as the beach is so long that the coast line looks pritty similar all the way along. There are sand bars along the beach so you will need to wade out quite a way at low tide. But also gives some small waves and good B&J conditions as a result. The beach faces directly North so at a guess works in N, NW, NE possibly Eastish as well. Basically anything that is on-shore. I don't think it is too wise to sail there in off-shore winds, you could get yourself in major trouble. You can also get a bit of a thermal wind kicking in there on hot days (a bit of a noveltiy.) It's a good spot and not that intimidating if you are not used to sailing in the sea.viewmap

Report by Iain Anderson

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Burghead Bay

Beautiful big sandy beach. The access to the centre of the Bay is a longish walk through trees from a parking/picnic area. Also accessible from Burghead. Occasionally gets some waves. viewmap

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Been here chasing the wind only a couple of times. Never actually got sailing because of gusty O/S winds but the beach to the west of the town seems to catch some nice waves. viewmap

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If you ever visit the NE with your kit, then don't fail to visit The Broch. The local taxis are called Surf City Cabs. Beautiful horseshoe bay backed by dunes. The bay catches a great swell from the north. Some of my best days sailing have been here. Second only to Tiree in my book. The popularity of the place as a windsurfing venue was badly damaged a decade ago when the best access point through through to the back of the dunes via the Water of Philorth was restricted. The local kids badly cut up the dunes and caused a lot of erosion with trail bikes. The council put up sharp picket fences and walkways and moved the nearest parking point a mile back from the beach. You have to be dedicated to walk a mile to check the wind, walk back a mile to rig up, walk a mile back to the beach holding your gear high above the razor edge of the fences, hope you got your sail selection right and then walk the mile back again carrying your gear on your head at the end of the day! The Philort access is near the east end of the beach. You can also sail from the town end (west), but you usually end up travelling well round the bay to get a clean wind.
There are miles of sandy beaches from the NE tip down the coast, but with no access. viewmap

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Sailing around high tide on the Ythan estuary has been very popular. I've had many great days blasting here. It's been getting more polluted over the years and the phosphate in the field run-off promotes massive weed growth in summer which kills the sailing. viewmap

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Has it's day (maybe once or twice a year!). The prevailing wind is cross-off. Combine this with groynes and the gusty wind coming over the town and you have hours of frustrating sailing. Can be good in a true southerly, but the rip gets strong. Usually sailed from the mid point of the bay, except in a southerly gale when Fittie is the launching point. Gets humungous waves in a strong northerly. Another problem with the bay is that it is too shallow with a mess of sand bars. When the waves get big they start breaking all over the place and the bay soon becomes a mass of breaking grey water. On a Saturday make sure you arrive early if the Dons are playing at home. viewmap

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Rocky and sheltered. Has a large (boat) sailing club. There are some ribs of rock that produce some nice waves. Shore break can be a killer. I've had some good days here but it can get a bit intimidating. viewmap

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Thanks to Gavin Shaw for these reports. Check out his brilliant Tiree home page by clicking the Tiree link in the contents window.
If you have any more location reports for the North East or can add something to these reports then please e-mail me.

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