Hike, Kayak and Wild Camp the Isle of Skye

Activity Overview

What to expect on this Isle of Skye Adventure?

  • Sea kayak along Skye’s breathtaking southern coastline – eyes peeled for whales, seals, basking sharks, sea eagles and otters.
  • Head into the Cuillin Mountains on a magnificent hike to the summit of Blà Bheinn for panoramic views over Skye.
  • Circumnavigate Soay – an island populated by just three hardy souls – exploring sheltered lochs, secret caves and taking a dip in the ‘Mermaids Pool’.
  • Pitch your tent in remote spots and enjoy a wee dram around the campfire, savouring the majesty of the Scottish Highlands.

Your Itinerary for the Adventure?

Day 1 – Welcome to the Scottish Highlands:

Meet up with your host in Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands. Hit the road for a 2.5-hour drive through gorgeous scenery, passing famous sights such as Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle, featured in the Highlander movie.

Cross over the Skye Bridge to the Isle of Skye and continue to the Strathaird Peninsula, stopping at Broadford for a quick bite to fuel your paddling spirit, and pick up your gear for the expedition. In the afternoon, you’ll launch into sheltered Loch Slapin, where a gentle paddle will unveil a coastline sculpted by nature’s artistry. Cracks, fissures, and caves dot the rugged landscape as you explore.

The highlight of this area will be a visit to the Spar Cave, a subterranean realm bathed in an ethereal glow, where you can wild swim (if you dare brave the icy waters!). Another hour’s paddle takes you to the first wild camp spot. Pitch up, get the fire going and settle in for dinner and camp out in the Scottish wilderness.

Day 2 – Circumnavigate & camp on a wild island

Tuck into a heary breakfast, break camp, load up the kayaks and hit the water for a full day exploring the southern Skye coastline. Paddle past headlands and outcrops before gliding past the secluded hamlet of Elgol, a charming village nestled amidst the rugged landscape. If the sea conditions allow, you’ll venture into open waters to reach the Isle of Soay, a remote island renowned for its unique breed of hardy sheep – and a population of three even hardier humans. The name ‘Soay’ comes from an old Norse word that literally means ‘sheep island’. Soay is nestled at the foot of the majestic Cuillin Mountains and makes for a captivating circumnavigation with its ever-changing coastline of cliffs, bays, arches and caves. Find a secluded spot to pitch your tent for a memorable night wild camping on Soay.

Day 3 – Loch Coruisk and the Black Cuillin

Wake up in this surreal spot, grab a coffee and bid farewell to the Isle of Soay, crossing back to the coastline of Skye. The focus of your journey shifts to the awe-inspiring Black Cuillin Mountains – one of the UK’s most challenging mountaineering terrains. Hug the shoreline with the imposing peaks of the Cuillin Ridge dominating the landscape. Keep a watchful lookout for golden and white-tailed eagles en route to the entrance to Loch Coruisk, a glacial lake that harbours a captivating legend. Loch Coruisk is said to be the abode of a kelpie, a mischievous water horse that can shapeshift into human form. Tread carefully, adventurers!  After lunch, a leisurely 4km paddle takes you to Camasunary Beach, where you’ll set up basecamp for the next two nights. This secluded beach provides a tranquil setting nestled in the raw beauty of this part of Scotland.

Day 4 – Reach for the summit of a Skye mountain

Grab an early morning dip in the bracing Atlantic this morning, if you fancy (absolutely optional, of course!) before swapping your kayak for your hiking boots. Hike towards the Cuillin Mountains to the base of Blà Bheinn (929m), a magnificent Munro peak that stands as an outlier from the main Cuillin Ridge. This is one of the best day hikes in Skye, if not all of Scotland. A steady and at times steep ascent with over 900m of elevation gain, leads you all the way to the summit, which will require stamina and determination.

Blà Bheinn is a staggeringly scenic spot with unparalleled panoramic views of the Cuillins, neighbouring mountains and Scotland’s rugged west coast. Descend back down the mountain, eventually reaching camp where you can enjoy sunset before gathering around the campfire for your final night. Raise a glass of Talisker whisky, a spirit distilled just 10 miles away from your camp spot, adding a touch of Scottish warmth to the farewell celebration tonight.

Day 5 – The final stretch to the finish line

Bid farewell to this epic camp spot and stunning surroundings, completing the journey with a leisurely paddle back to Elgol village. The van will be waiting for you there, ready to whisk you away from the shores of Skye and back to Inverness. Along the way you’ll stop at a café or local shop for a final bite to savour the flavours of Scotland. Your host will drop you off in the town centre with a heartfelt farewell after a glorious time in the wilds.

Please note that traffic or weather conditions may cause delays today, so it’s advisable to avoid booking onward travel from Inverness until 17:00 at the earliest.

Inverness & Loch Ness
(Minimum) £870
5 Days
May to September
18 Years


You need to have some previous sea kayaking experience, as you will be exploring some remote areas and may encounter some lumpy sea conditions. We suggest a minimum of three days sea kayaking experience in the past. Additional training will be provided during the expedition, while on the water.

A generally good level of fitness will be required. Building some arm strength before the trip will help with sea kayaking, and good hip mobility is needed both for paddling and hiking. The precise difficulty level of this trip depends on the sea conditions at the time, which can change quickly, but you should come prepared to encounter some waves.

You will be in a single kayak by default: however, if perhaps you don’t have a lot of kayaking experience or aren’t confident paddling solo, and would prefer a tandem kayak, this can be requested with your host. These are subject to availability and dependent upon someone else being happy to paddle tandem with you. Please request this on your booking form.

What to Bring Along

A suggested expedition packing list will be provided on booking.

What’s Included

  • An experienced guide
  • Transport from Inverness and back.
  • Great food.
  • All camping, kayaking and cooking equipment (except sleeping bags).
  • Sleeping Bags can be hired as an optional extra.


Make a Booking

You can join this awesome expedition through our partners, Much Better Adventures.  They have a number of dates scheduled and you can check current availability and book online using this link.


A Guide to Midges in Scotland

If you’re planning to explore Scotland’s stunning landscapes this summer, it’s advised to take precautions against attracting midges and other insects. Learn where to expect them and how best to avoid getting bitten.

FAQS about Midges

What are midges? 

Small two-winged flies which often from swarms or clouds. There are a number of different species of midge, some of which partly feed off nectar in addition to the blood of animals and sometimes humans.

Which type of midge lives in Scotland?

The Highland midge. It’s found throughout the British isles, northern Europe and even northern China.

Are midges like mosquitos? 

No. While midges might look like mosquitos close up and suck blood, they are not mosquitos and do not spread malaria.

What do midge bites look like?

Small red dots which can develop into itchy, painful swellings and even blisters.

Are midge bites serious?

Midge bites are harmless but if the skin around the bite becomes broken it could become infected.

How do midges detect their prey? The midge locates its prey by picking up carbon dioxide exhaled into the atmosphere.

Did you know? Only the female midge bites!

Where are the midge hotspots Scotland?

The west of the Highlands, islands and parts of the Cairngorms. They are also found in Perthshire and Argyll.

At what time of day are midges most active?

At dawn or dusk. They also like damp, clammy days with overcast skies and little wind.

At what time of year are midges most common? 

From May to October.

Where are midges found?

Midges love humid and damp conditions as well as shady spots. Marshlands, grasslands, forests and woodlands, the banks of rivers, ponds and lochs; all are magnets for midges.

At what time of day are midges most active?

At dawn or dusk. They also like damp, clammy days with overcast skies and little wind.

What can you do about them?

We advise buy a midge-head net and possibly buy some insect repellent too, e.g. check the Smidge website.  Midges won’t generally bother you during activities, but if they are around, you may bump into them if you are standing waiting, changing clothes, or resting during an activity.

In Your Element guides are local, experienced guys and girls that love doing what they do.  They will be on hand to coach you, keep you safe, show you all the best campsites, tell you about what you see along the way, perhaps tell you a story or two, and they will be great camp-chefs (the quality of our camp-tucker is highly regarded!).

You’re always in good company on one of our adventures.  Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

All of our public, scheduled group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. We may however, be able to cater for children on some private group departures.  Just get in touch to find out more if this is of interest.

In Your Element don’t require you to have travel insurance, however, if booking through a partner company like Much Better Adventures, you will need it.

We do however, recommend that you have travel insurance, in case of holiday cancellations or illness, for example, prior to departure.  None of the expeditions that we offer require ‘high-risk’ insurance cover.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for medical treatment, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

In Your Element has industry-leading Liability Insurance covering participants while on expedition.  You will also be protected by Financial insolvency Insurance.

The Scottish summer is usually warm but you can expect some rain, even if it’s just a little. Prepare for anything and think ‘layers’. Conditions in May and September will be slightly cooler, with the potential for frost at night. Kit-wise, the main thing is a warm sleeping bag, and an additional bag liner if you feel the cold more.

If you are planning to join one of our scheduled departures through Much Better Adventures, for example, then yes, absolutely.  You’ll be joining like-minded individuals, on a small, social expedition, so ideal for individuals to join.

For other expeditions that do not have online availability, then I’m afraid you won’t be able to do that as an individual.  Generally speaking, we need a minimum of 4 people for a private group expedition to be viable for us.

Scottish weather can be unpredictable as most people will know.  We will monitor weather forecasts in the lead up to your expedition departure date and we will have alternative routes in mind, should the weather look particularly bad.  That may just mean starting somewhere else nearby and heading in a different direction, or at worst, we may need to consider a different location altogether.  However, you can be assured that we will discuss this with you if the need arises.

Yes, you do.

You’ll either be sharing a canoe or kayak, perhaps paddling a kayak yourself, carrying a rucksack up a hill or your kit on a bike.  We will give you suggested personal equipment lists prior to the expedition to help you pack sensibly.  But do bear in mind you will need to carry your stuff and potentially some group equipment too.

Our adventure holiday offerings require different levels of experience depending on the location and nature of the expedition.  However, all participants joining one of our expeditions should have a generally good level of fitness.

You may be expected to help lift equipment (like boats), carry your personal equipment and help with group kit.  You may also spend a few hours paddling or cycling at a time, or walking with a heavy backpack.  So, it goes without saying that any fitness preparation or conditioning you can do prior to the expedition, will help you enjoy it more.

Having said all that, most of our expeditions are aimed at less experienced indivudals, so we don’t expect you to be Olympic athletes!

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