This is where it all started, straight off the 5 a.m. ferry from Oban, the very first wave of the trip.
Tiree is a small, flat island about three hours from the mainland, separated from Coll, its neighbour and mirror image, by a narrow, swirling sound less than a mile across. Covered in lush grass, with just a couple of hills and only a handful of trees, it feels both desolate and domestic at the same time.
The beach at Balevullin looks north west, out towards the wild expanse of the Atlantic, catching any waves going. It's a beautiful place, with fine, bone-white sand edged by thick grass, and water as clear and crisp as a mountain spring.
There wasn't much swell about, and the waves were no more than waist high, but very clean and fairly fast, with a light off-shore wind keeping everything smooth and well-groomed. As it was the start of the trip, I was disgracefully unfit, despite all those early-morning sessions at the pool, and I had trouble getting to my feet fast enough. A LOT of trouble! Local surf instructor Suds and his friend Adam were out - and doing a lot better than I was.
The tide was dropping, and with it went most of the swell, unfortunately. As the tide comes in, there are rocks at the southern end of the beach to contend with, and a small rock lurking in the middle of the line-up to avoid. Other than that, it's perfect.