Tonnmharcaíocht – Windsurfing

Gortahork in Northwest Donegal and the surrounding area is quickly becoming one of Ireland’s favourite windsurfing destinations. It has the beaches, the weather the scenery and the warmth of the welcome. Windsurfing above all else requires wind and around Óstán Loch Altan there’s plenty of it, particularly on Magheroarty beach, which is just two miles from the hotel, but also within a short distance of the hotel there are many quiet sheltered bays to suit all standards. The hotel offers dry room facilities for the surfers to hang their wetsuits at the end of a long and enjoyable day on the water. We also offer food and accommodation packages to suit the needs of the many groups who choose to stay with us, particularly in the off season. So if you’re interested in bringing a group of windsurfers to savour the delights of this part of Donegal all you have to do is to click on the CONTACTS page and let us know your requirements.
Thank you Red Bull Storm Chase.

Peter Hart is one of the best known windsurfers in the world. He is a former British champion and the leading authority on technique. There is barely a windsurfer in the world who has not been helped by one of his four books, thirty instructional DVDs or his monthly articles in WINDSURF magazine. He runs a worldwide teaching tour taking in such exotic locations as Brazil, Mauritius, the Red Sea and Donegal! When he comes to Donegal to run his courses, Óstán Loch Altan is where he chooses to stay. This is what he has to say about the hotel and the area.

“For windsurfers, Donegal used be one of the world’s best kept secrets. I was lured to the area by local windsurfers Richard Harshaw and Brendan Hone in 1989 and have been coming back every year since then. The beaches, the scenery, the warmth of the welcome – they knock the spots off Hawaii! And what about the weather? Well windsurfers above all crave wind and around these parts there’s plenty of it. Yes sometimes if arrives with a bit of wet but this past September we had five out of six days of glorious sunshine. The coastline does lure windsurfing extremists thanks to the wild winds and massive swells, but the attraction for me as a coach is that within a ten mile radius of Óstán Loch Altan you can find conditions to suit all standards with glorious sheltered bays like Marble Hill and Ballyness. When I first started doing the course we based ourselves in B&B’s around Dunfanaghy but then we discovered Óstán Loch Altan. Not only is it nearer our favourite beach of Magheroarty but it is just a great place to stay. Firstly it’s large enough to accommodate all of us but unlike many large hotels it has maintained the personal touch. ALL the staff are extra friendly and NOTHING is too much trouble. 

We windsurfers are a friendly bunch but we do have some strange habits like walking in at all hours of the day and night in wet wetsuits. Instead of complaining, the manager immediately assigned us our own drying room! For many the best part of the day is the sitting down and spinning exaggerated yarns over a beer. The hotel bar is perfect, warm yet chilled out, spacious and always open. It also has a big screen on which to play the video and relive the day’s action. As for the food, it’s varied, plentiful, good value and delicious. For our group Óstán Loch Altan and the staff really added to the trip. The hotel has all the advantages of a big and a small hotel. There’s plenty of room with great facilities and yet it has a family-run feel where you just stroll in, treat the place like home and don’t have to tiptoe around saying ‘sorry’ all the time! Anyone into water sports, surfing, canoeing, kiting, windsurfing, whatever, has to check out this coastline and use Óstán Loch Altan as their base. See you again in September!”

Peter Hart

Peter Hart Master Class returns to Donegal

The legendary windsurfer Peter Hart, in conjunction with local windsurfer Brendan Hone, has just run his Master Class courses from the Óstán Loch Altan once again and said they were the best yet! “This is the 21st year on the trot that I have been bringing a group to Donegal and it just seems to get better and better! The Óstán Loch Altan has been the icing on the cake. They seem especially sympathetic to our needs. This year the conditions were epic.

Not only did we get wind EVERY day for 3 weeks but the weather was tropical. That means people stayed on the water longer returned even more exhausted than usual. The combination of welcoming bar and excellent food was just too much to resist.

The Óstán Loch Altan and Peter Hart Master Class have joined forces to help promote the area especially off season. It seems to be working. This year at the end of September, most of the hotel guests were made up of windsurfers who’d come to sample the unique beauty of the Donegal beaches. Peter will be back in Óstán Loch Altan for the last three weeks of September 2023”

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