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TheKiteMag 50 The Mission Youri Zoon by Orestis Zoumpos 8 1200x800 - The Mission: Scottish Power

The Mission: Scottish Power

Youri Zoon and friend and photographer, Orestis Zoumpos, have been sending us tales of their missions to off-the-beaten-track destinations like Norway, or Greece out of season, where Youri ends up being not just the only kiter in the water, but the only person in the water full-stop. This time they headed to bonnie Scotland, and yes, once again Youri enjoyed empty beaches to himself.

PHOTOS: Orestis Zoumpos
TheKiteMag 50 The Mission Youri Zoon by Orestis Zoumpos 7 - The Mission: Scottish Power

Scotland might not be the most famous place for kiting. However, it’s a place that gets a lot of wind and then some. At least that’s what I’d heard, and I was eager to find out. Like my last few trips, it was a bit of a gamble if we would get the conditions we hoped for. But the trip itself was sure to be amazing. Our journey started by sea from Ijmuiden in the Netherlands. The ferry over to Newcastle took about 16 hours, followed by an eight-hour drive to our first destination, the Isle of Skye. The boat ride was a pretty bumpy one thanks to a storm, but got us over the pond safe and sound. The drive turned into 10 hours instead of eight, but like we say, the longer it takes, the bigger the reward. We eventually got to the Isle of Skye and into our sleeping pod… yes you heard right… a tiny house with just enough space for the two of us.

After a good night’s sleep we woke up to explore Scotland’s beautiful and raw landscapes. We went out for a hike at ‘The Storr’, a rocky hill formed by a landslide, on the Trotternish Peninsula, which appears as a sheer rock face with a 719-meter height. We were lucky with the weather being on our side, so had an awesome hike. We were then due to take another ferry to the Outer Hebrides, also known as The Western Isles, a vast group of islands as far west as you could think of. But unfortunately our ferry was cancelled and we only found out 30 minutes before departure… We sat in the car despondently while the rain poured down in bucketloads and the wind was maxing out. Seeing as we had already driven a lot, we found the closest place to sleep and have a beer. Well that was a dorm… who would have thought that this superstar would survive those circumstances!

The next day we got lucky. The boat left at 9am and we sailed into sunshine. It was a stunning day with blue skies and 23 to 26 knots. On arrival, we quickly dropped our stuff off and rushed to the beach. We found an insane spot with sandbars, rocks and butter-flat water. The 10m Slingshot Code was the kite of choice for this session – Tiugainn! which means ‘let’s go’ in Scottish tongue. With kilometers of coastline and seemingly endless beach all around, we knew this place had a lot to offer. We only had to work out where and when to be.

TheKiteMag 50 The Mission The Storr by Orestis Zoumpos scaled - The Mission: Scottish Power

The next morning, we wanted to check out some wave spots. Unfortunately it was low tide and the swell wasn’t in our favor, so we ended up with an onshore sloppy wave session on the beach close to our accommodation. It was fun to get the surfboard out but nothing spectacular. The wind picked up towards the end of the day with the forecast for the next couple of days showing 30 to 35 knots, some days even pushing 40 plus. Our fingers – and hands and feet – were crossed to make this forecast reality. We parked our car right by a big bay, and with my 9m Code and my new YZ PRO model I had the perfect setup for an epic afternoon session, even though I was all by myself out there.

The Scottish weather can be pretty unpredictable… Rain showers come and go faster than you can sneeze. Once you’re on the water, it is not an issue, but don’t forget that there is this Greek guy called Orestis that is getting his ass wet and his face sandblasted in order to get a good shot of me enjoying the nice conditions out there… Haha, life ain’t fair, but don’t worry, I got him a nice coffee afterwards. So after a good session, we were done and dusted for the day knowing that the next morning would bring us similar conditions.

The saying goes: “Never change a winning team”. So the next day I went out on my 9m Code again and I dropped Orestis in the dunes again. The wind was a fair bit stronger and gustier, but the time definitely no less fun. Our last day soon came around and with the wind being lighter we decided to return to the flat water spot. With lighter conditions on my 10 meter, I kicked into cruising mode. Then it was time to pack our bags and head back to the Scottish mainland, then repeat the long drive to Newcastle and the ferry back across the pond to the Netherlands – over 3000km on the clock, liters and liters of coffee, heaps of laughing, and we came back with memories and a sweet experience. On to the next one Orestis?

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