The Best Watersports in the Hebrides

The Best Watersports in the Hebrides

The islands of the Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland are known for their beautiful landscapes. Often experienced through walking and cycling, the islands also provide amazing opportunities for water-based based exploration and play. 

Whether you’re a seasoned sports enthusiast looking to try out your favourite activity in a new setting or are a beginner hoping to take up a new pursuit, you’ll find plenty to do in both the Inner and Outer Hebrides. To get you started, here are some of the top water sports and activities in the Hebrides. 


All around the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the opportunities for kayaking are endless. Home to hundreds of islands, the Hebrides boasts more unspoilt beaches, atmospheric sea caves and impressive sea stacks than anywhere else in the UK – all providing a beautiful backdrop for adventure. If you’re experienced, you can plot your favourite route around the conditions and set off with a buddy. Or, if you’re still learning ropes, you can join up with one of a number of tour operators too. 

Stand Up Paddleboarding 

SUP-ing is an amazing activity, whether you’re paddling across the reflections of multi-coloured cottages in Tobermory’s harbour (Inner Hebrides) or cruising along the edge of the most beautiful beaches in the world like Luskentyre Beach and Seilebost Beach on the Isle of Harris (Outer Hebrides). With something for every ability, you can tailor your journey to your own abilities or join up with guided tours for safety and the best local insights. 


Surfing is a popular pastime across many of the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides. At the heart of the Hebridean surfing scene, the Isle of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) benefits from not only some of the most beautiful settings but also the most consistent swell. For one of the best watersports in the Hebrides, make your way over to Eoropie Beach on Lewis – a long, white sandy beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. With shifting sandbar peaks breaking left and right and reef and boulder breaks at each end of the bay, it’s a firm favourite among surfers. To perfect your pop-up, you can sign up with local surf schools too.

Sea Swimming

If you can brave the cold, then sea swimming has to be one of the most invigorating watersports in the Hebrides. With each island carved with inlets, coves, bays and beaches, you can take your pick of places to paddle and dunk. If you choose to go for a full-body sea swim, just be mindful that very few of the Inner and Outer Hebrides islands have lifeguard cover, so please be aware of the conditions. For a more immersive experience, there are actually guided snorkelling and diving tours available from the Isle of Mull (Inner Hebrides), Lewis and Harris (Outer Hebrides) and Tiree (Inner Hebrides).


If you are a keen windsurfer, then you may be interested in Balephuil Bay on the southwest coast of Tiree (Inner Hebrides), which has a reputation as one of the best beaches for windsurfing in the world. At around a mile long, the beach’s shallow waters experience some pretty impressive waves when the winds roll in from the Atlantic, treating kite and windsurfers to hours of fun. In fact, the waves are so good here that the island hosts the world's longest standing professional windsurfing competition, the Tiree Wave Classic.


Should you be interested in coasteering, the Isle of Barra (Outer Hebrides) and the Isle of Skye (Inner Hebrides) are particularly great destinations to consider. With both incredible coastline and local, experienced coasteering guides leading action-packed excursions, you can climb, scramble, jump and swim your way through the day, discovering caves, floating through gullies and enjoying a whole new perspective of the coast. Get in touch with local operators and relish an unforgettable adventure that will thrill all generations. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages on the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Mull

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