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Helen Thompson Scotlands no1 female KitesurferSo up to Tiree to try and eventually get some decent kiting shots on the Ilse of Tiree ... we have been up three times so far but up to now had not managed to get the right conditions for a decent shoot third time lucky .........we hoped.

Apparently the BBC were going to be there too to film local girl and Scotlands no 1female kitesurfer Helen Thompson for a cameo appearance on the programme Coast.

Now filming kitesurfing in the UK is notoriously difficult as forecasts cant alway be relied upon but with a reasonable forecast and fingers crossed  would we be in luck?

So after a trek from Manchester to Oban through the night we arrived in Oban at approx 3 in the morning. With a short wait until 6am when the sales office opened we tried to sleep in Murray's Citroen CS loaded with kit before we got onto the ferry for another 4 hours of a boat ride ......anyone got a plane ??????

Ah well the scenery was worth looking at ....... lovely hill's, swirling currents, dolphins and huge SHARKS ..... ok so only basking sharks but they still look pretty impressive. So on arriving on Tiree after a long journey we had the long drive to Helen's place .................... about 200 metres or so. Helen was at the airport waiting for the BBC crew to land so Murray Aldrich Helen's friend and co North Team Rider decided to crash on the sofa's whilst we waited. The drive had been a killer.

 Helen came back about an hour or so later with the BBC crew and they had had the idea that they wanted Helen to speak about some of the attractions around the Islandas part of the proramme and because there was no wind they decided to do some of the filming there and then. They had research The Ringing Stone Tireeabout several places but had decided on the ringing stone which according to legend was possibly a place where virgins had their blood drained as an offering .........hmmmm nice. Called the ringing stone because when it is struck with another stone it makes a sort of ringing sound. Well the trek to the stone if you can call it a trek (more of an expedition ) took us the best part of three hours through a boggy moorland type of terrain.

Arriving back at the vehicles Muz (Murray) was just waking from another nap but I think we'll let him off as he had driven to mine from Kent and from Brighton to Kent before that all the day before!

That evening everyone jst chilled at Helens ready for the expected wind to arrive in the morning.

The following morning I was awake early about 5.45am and by 6.30 the sun was well up as I decided to go for a little walk around Scarinish....... because there was still no wind.  I took my camera and you can see why the Hebrides attracts many artists to the area from the images here. Crystal clear waters with an abundance of wildlife, stunning scenery and a clarity of light that is breath taking.

Ok so arty, sentimental feeling aside I had had a good morning and it wasnt even 9.00am

Back at the house Helen and Murray were just about stirring and after a quick breakfast of scrambled egg and scottish smoked salmon (Helen looked after us really well) we went to meet Liz and ???? from the BBC to try and get some water action. the wind however still wasnt playing ball !!!!!!!

So Helen set of the Ballevulin (one of my favourite beaches on Tiree and where I camp if I'm staying in the van) with the coast guys to do some interview stuff about kitesurfing, what it is and how to do it.

Murray and myself tried to check the forecast and waited for the wind to come through...... slowly it started and we went to catch up with Helen, Liz and ?????

Whilst Helen was being filmed Muz pumped up a kite and started to fly it to guage the strength of the wind. It was just about possible so with Helen on a 14m the Coast crew started filming. Blue Skies, turquoise and emerald water, it would look stunning on the final edit ........ if we could get some action. The wind wasnt being agreeable and teased us all day. Helen could just about get on to the plane but there was no power for any tricks ..... how frustrating. We were joined by some other kiters who having seen the kiteshad come totry the wind. Being on the land they managed to get going quite easily but again it wasnt long before thy started to struggle

Again we had to give up at around 5pm after spending all day being cooked in the sun. We went down to the co-op to get some supplies for a beach BBQ later that evening. All the regulars from Tiree were there as a about 20 people watch and filmed an amazing sunset over the island of Bara in the Outer Hebridies. Now as I have said before the Hebridies has very clear skies and as such star watching is quite amazing so whilst a few cans were being sunk, and the warmth from the fire died there was a bright flash that lit up all the sky like a firework or a camera flash, except on a much brigther and larger scale. Possibly a meteorite burning up on re entry ? it created quite a discussion! ;-)

So up early again the following morning the wind was howling down the side of Helens house ......well the distance between the houses creates that effect as outside the wind wasnt that strong. The blue skies had gone, and it was raining, but it was off the the beach to give it another go. Well the BBC were happy with the action even if Helen was not. (Theres a difference between what Jo public see's and what top kitesurfers actually want). I tried to get some video from the water but as I did guess what .... the wind died .....again!!

The BBC had to leave that day so we took them back to the airport and made our way back to Helen's. After all the driving and stress of looking for the wind everyone was extremely tired so another early night (.....what a kitesurf trip without a visit to the pub ???)

So Thursday morning and the last day on Tiree for myself and Murray the wind was blowing, so off to Gott Bay for an early session, with Helen climbing high above a background of her house the sun started to appear and the wind once again started to die. we packed up around 3ish to be read for the ferry and the long drive back to Manchester ...... although I had to be in Newquay on Friday.

As we packed the wind started again and by the time we were on the ferry Helen was back on the beach giving lessons to one of the guys.

The trip home again produced a stunning sunset and as the light faded behind the Island of Mull we headed inside for a quick nap on the way to Oban.

At last I had tasted a little of what Tiree had been hiding from me and yeah I'll be going back especially as the price of the ferry is due to go down around October 2008

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