River Spey Canoe Expeditions

Activity Overview

What to Expect On Our River Spey Canoe Expeditions

An exhilarating descent of the majestic River Spey by canoe.  One of the ‘Big 4’ rivers that is a must for the touring canoeist in Scotland, and which normally provides a nice pace of current (spicy at times) and some great scenery. You will learn about the history and heritage of this wonderful river, will get to see some awesome wildlife and you may even see the odd salmon leaping as you paddle quietly by.

3, 4 or 5-Day Expeditions Available

Our launch point will depend on how much time you have available, the time of year and the river levels but is could be either Newtonmore, Loch Insh, Aviemore or Boat of Garten.

On this multi-day adventure you will journey by tandem open canoe from the heart of the Cairngorms National Park (the UK’s biggest national park) to the North Sea at Spey Bay, where dolphins and osprey feed and play.

Travelling with like-minded adventurers, you’ll be given coaching as you go, by our experienced local canoe guides.  You’ll find some awesome wild campsites as you progress down river, from riverbanks to river islands, you’ll wild-camp at some awesome locations.

Eat Like A King or Queen

Just because this is a camping trip, don’t imagine for a minute that we scrimp on the food rations.  Our canoe guides are well-known for their culinary prowess and will conjure some brilliant food on your journey, to keep your energy levels up.  From tasty, warm breakfasts to 3-course dinners and a glass of wine, you won’t be disappointed with the food.  We cater for just about all dietary requirements too, so don’t be put off if you’re worried about that.

Learn About the River Spey

As you paddle down river, you’ll hear about local history and heritage as well as a few stories of old.  You are likely to come across some local wildlife too, from leaping salmon, to ospreys fishing for their supper, or deer grazing by the river bank.

Tailored To Your Group

Above all, we’ll tailor the experience to you and your companions.  We’ll take what you want to do, and turn it into a memorable expedition experience, just for you.  So, please don’t hesitate get in touch.

Subject to availability and a minimum of 4 people required for private group bookings.

Price on Request
(Minimum) Min. 4 People Required.
3 to 5 days
April to October
13 Years


  • Minimum age: 13 yo. when with family members.
  • Must be able to swim 25 metres.
  • Some basic canoeing experience is ideal, but not essential.

What to Bring Along

A suggested kit list will be provided.

What’s Included

All necessary paddling equipment, camping and cooking equipment (excluding sleeping bags), food and transport from the meeting point to the departure location.

Make a Booking

Private group bookings are subject to a minimum of 4 people participating - 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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