Scottish surfer Mark Boyd shares his 'best bits' of the country, from beaches to Cullen Skink...

Best Beach

I know you might be expecting the best surfing beach, and I have a lot of favourite beaches, but today I’ll choose Torrisdale beach in Sutherland, which is one of my favourite beaches – and places. I think it’s definitely one of the most scenic beaches in Scotland. Those views of the mountains to the west, and then there are the rivers coming out and there's an island offshore...

Best Building

I struggled with this for a while, but I decided to go with the one that my mind kept taking me back to without thinking too much. That one is Edinburgh Castle. It’s almost so obvious that we forget about it. It’s not only a great building itself, but that location high on the rock, overlooking the city. It’s pretty special and it’s also such an icon of Scotland.

Best Street

I was going to go for the main street in Tobermory, simply because of the colourful buildings. I’d like to see that done more across Scotland. Some places would really benefit from it. But I’m going to choose a place closer to my heart – I’ve chosen to live in Thurso for the past 15 years now and Shore Street is really important to me. The views are great, with the beach right there and the surf and the waves right on your doorstep.

Best Childhood Memory

It might be quite an obvious one for me, but my favourite childhood memory is when I was a young teenager, learning to surf on the Moray Firth coast. Believe me, it wasn’t always fun memories though. It can be quite a struggle in the harsh winters. But catching my first waves and the memory of one in particular – that really sticks out in your mind when you get hooked on something.

Best Shop

That’s an easy one. ESP in Elgin. It’s a surfing, skateboard, and snowboard shop. That’s how I found out about surfing. I had started skateboarding and through being in the shop and getting to know the owner and the crowd who hung about there, I found out about surfing and the fact that I lived a lot closer to it than I thought.
The owner, Mark, would organise trips away snowboarding and was really influential on all of us in that scene.

The Herald:

Best Walk or Cycle

I don't do a huge amount of walking up Munros, but one of my favourites is probably Ben Wyvis near Dingwall. I think that the memory of the first time I was there is a good one though, we got such a bonny day for it that it’s always stuck in my mind.

Best View

Well, I say I don’t do a lot of Munros, but the views from the top of Ben Hope are amazing. The view across the North Coast and the Pentland Firth and the Atlantic. It’s a really good hike up there as well too. It’s a steep ascent, right from the car park. It makes you work for those incredible views.

Best Scottish Delicacy

Again, one that I really had to think about. I have to say that I am a big fan of Cullen Skink and I like a bit of haggis as well. But I was doing a bit of work on the West Coast last year and I ended up eating oysters, actually a lot of oysters, pretty regularly. I would get them from the Oban Seafood Hut. Theses west coast oysters weren’t just amazing but they were also very reasonably priced!

The Herald:

Best Place For Some Alone Time

Can I end where I started? On Torrisdale Beach. One day there really stands out in my mind, when I had the place to myself. It was absolutely scorching, high 20s,  that kind of really uncommon weather for Scotland so it’s always memorable. I do remember just sitting on the beach that day. Not another soul to be seen. There were no waves to go surfing but that made me make the most of just being able to sit and enjoy the view.

The Scottish National Surfing Championships are being held at Thurso from March 29 to 31.There are events throughout the year, Visit

Follow Mark on Instagram here.