Introduction to Sea Kayaking Expedition

Activity Overview

What To Expect On Our Introduction to Sea Kayaking Expedition on the West Coast of Scotland

If you’re new to sea kayaking or perhaps have some experience but haven’t been lucky enough to kayak on the West Coast of Scotland, this is for you. Consolidate your existing skills or learn to kayak in the spectacular rugged scenery of the West Highlands. This is truly a world-class sea kayaking location.

Visit ancient historical sites, such as Finan’s Isle and the spectacular Castle Tioram. Forage the seashore for edible seaweed and lovely fresh mussels, then dine with an amazing vista out towards the Small Isles including Rum and Eigg. Look out for Otters, Sea Eagles, Common and Grey Seals and as spend your day exploring. There is also the possibility of seeing dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks, all of which are regular visitors to the area. Top it off with stunning west coast sunsets and beautiful starry night skies for the perfect adventure holiday.

Please note that the route can and often does change due to weather forecasts and the range of experience in the group, so the following is only to give you a flavour of what to expect.

Example Itinerary

Day 1 – from the bustle of the city to the calm of the coast

You will be collected at 9.00AM in Fort William on the morning of Day 1 by your guide for the tour and transported to the start point.

Having packed and launched your kayak on to the freshwater Loch Shiel, you will start with an introductory paddling skills session.  Then it will be time to start exploring the south end of Loch Shiel, visit St Finans Isle to learn a bit about its fascinating history, then stop early for your first night’s camp on the shore of the loch.

Day 2 – the smell of the salty sea

Today starts with a farewell to Loch Shiel as you meander down the slow-moving River Shiel towards the coast.  You will learn how to portage your kayak as the group carry the boats around the short rapid that links the river with the sea.

Day 2 – exploring

You will spend timing having fun exploring the many sheltered bays and islands of Loch Moidart around Castle Tioram, and taking some time to build your kayaking confidence and paddling skills.

As late afternoon approaches the group will leave the sheltered waters of the sea loch and hug the coast for around 3 more kilometres, as you paddle around to the beautiful beach at Smirisary.

If anyone has the energy for it, there is the option for an hour’s walk after dinner, taking you to the lovely remote Glenuig Inn for a wee night-cap before bed. 

Day 3 – start your day with a dip in the sea

A relaxed start this morning to allow time for an invigorating morning swim in the Atlantic from the stunning beach at Smirisary.  The group will then head off and continue north at a relaxed pace, before turning east along the rugged Moidart coastline, taking some time to forage in the rocks and pools at low tide.   The final wild camp will be dependant on weather conditions and the ambition of the group, but is likely to be somewhere in the wonderful islet-studded Sound of Arisaig.

Day 4 – Heading for home

The group will strike camp for the final time and paddle for a couple of hours out to the road between Lochailort and Arisaig, meeting the pick-up vehicle.

Departing around 2:00PM  the plan will be to drop the group off in Fort William at 3.00pm (for those that want to finish there), or continue back to Inverness for around 5.00pm.

This is such a brilliant experience, and you can see this for yourself from the great reviews we get from Much Better Adventure’s Customers.

Fort William
(Minimum) £640
4 days, 3 nights
April to October
16 Years


  • Beginners or Intermediate kayakers.
  • Miniimum age 16 years old.

What to Bring Along

An expedition checklist will be provided on booking.

What’s Included

Qualfied local guide, all paddling equipment, including waterproofs, camping and cooking equipment, food from Lunch on Day 1 to lunch on the final day, transport from the meeting point and back again.


Make a Booking

If you are an individual or in a small group please check the Much Better Adventures website for dates and availability (Minimum age 18). Private Group Bookings may also be available but subject to a minimum of 4 people booking - if you are interested in a private booking please contact us.


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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