We met at Ladysbridge at 6:30am Saturday for the long trek up North. Two and a half hours later we stopped at a little cafe in Golspie for bacon rolls and coffee all round. With some nourishment in our bellies we were away again.
We arrived at Thurso to the sight of an almost flat sea, not a good sign for a surfing weekend but I've now learned that ridiculous amounts of optimism are a pre-requisite of any avid surf enthusiast, of which Iain and Neil are two such beings.
As what swell there was coming from the West, that was the direction that we went in search of a wave. Checking out every little beach on the way we eventually ended up at Bettyhill where we decided that the rip from the river was going to provide the best surf we'd find. So we got changed and carried our boats down to the river and paddled down it into the sea, where we discovered that the waves were building in height with every passing minute making the trip out past the breakers great fun.
We all had a few good runs, coming in from 200 yards out right up to the beach on a single wave. No swims that first day, with only one capsize each to me, Iain and Neil. After a couple of hours, the waves were dying down again, so we called it a day and headed back to Thurso to check in at the B&B. Our evening meal was at a place called Le Bistro, which we will all happily recommend to anyone going to Thurso.
Sunday morning was again flat at Thurso, so we headed back to Bettyhill as it was the only place with enough of a wave to ride. The waves were bigger, but rougher than Saturday, so plenty of capsizes that day, with one really long swim for me at the end.
In case you're wondering what its like to surf backwards with a six foot wall of water crashing down in front of your face, then "interesting" is an understatement!! We headed back down via some single track roads, ending up following the Helmsdale river for a while. There were some really nice section on it, so we stopped for a look at one and nearly ended up stopping a lot longer when Alan came close to dropping his keys in it! Not that I'd have minded playing there for a couple of hours, but unfortunately, he caught his keys and were were off again.
Food stop was again in Golspie, this time at the chippie, so we sat by the beach watching the two inch waves pounding the shore. Home for 8.15 pm, and in bed by 8.30 pm - exhausted!