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Summit to Sea in 4 Days – Aviemore

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An extraordinary journey taking you from over 1200m above sea level in the heart of the Cairngorm mountains, down the River Spey by Canadian canoe to the sea on the coast of Scotland. An awesome wild experience for the adventurer in you.

An extraordinary journey taking you from over 1200m above sea level in the heart of the Cairngorm mountains, down the River Spey by Canadian canoe to the sea on the coast of Scotland. An awesome wild experience for the adventurer in you. You will camp for 3 nights in wild campsites, taking in the wonderful surroundings of the Cairngorms National Park and Spey Valley.

Day 1 – scaling the heights of the Cairngorms

Meeting in the bustling Highland capital of Inverness at 8:30AM you and your fellow adventurers, will travel towards the Cairngorm Mountains to start your 4-day adventure.

First up is strenuous walk to the summit of Braeriach, the 2nd highest mountain in the UK (or alternative if the weather dictates otherwise).  The summit of Braeriach is actually made up from the apexes of 5 corries (or cym or tarn) making this an awe-inspriring place to be.  On a clear day, standing on the summit you can see miles and miles away into the distance down Glen Dee, past the almost as big Ben Macdui.  Thrusting their way skywards you'll see great cliffs of red granite rising from the corries below in the form of spires, buttresses and pinnacles.

Having conquered the heights of Braeriach, we have a little surprise for you before you descend.  You are unlikely to have heard of Loch Coire an Lochan, but this is the highest named loch in the UK at 1000m above sea level and, if you’re up for it, you can take a quick wild-swim, the old fashioned way….with no wetsuits!  It’s not for everyone, but the opportunity is there for the braver amongst you.  After your day on the hill, we’ll collect you and take you to the next leg of the journey.

After arriving at Cromdale on the River Spey, you’ll pack your canoes and make your way a short distance down river to camp at an awesome island campsite.  With a campfire flickering and the tents in place, it will be time for a 3-course meal to replace all that energy used up on the hill during the day.

You’ll have no trouble sleeping this evening with tired legs after a day in the Highland fresh air.

Day 2 - the river adventure begins

After your short introduction to the river on Day 1, things start to get a bit more interesting today as you start to get a feel for the character of the River Spey.  Although you'll come across some whitewater today, this is a more relaxed day, an appetiser for what lays in store on Day 3!  You'll get some coaching from our guide if you need it, learn a bit about the River Spey’s rich cultural and industrial heritage and keep your eyes open looking out for wildlife.

Day 3 – the River Spey shows its true character

A very exciting day today as you progress down-river through the heart of the Speyside whisky region.  You’ll encounter the infamous ‘Washing Machine’ rapid early in the day, test your new-found canoe skills on the Knockando rapids and continue down river towards Craigellachie.  We’ll aim to reach one of our favourite wild campsites on the Spey by late afternoon.

Day 4 – the coast in sight

After the adrenaline-fuelled day yesterday, day 4 will be a bit more relaxed, as the river meanders its way towards the sea. You’ll notice the character of the landscape around you change markedly, and start to smell the sea air as Spey Bay approaches.

As the expedition reaches its finale at Spey Bay our driver will collect the group and return all to Inverness for onward travel by train, bus or plane.  If anyone needs dropped off at accommodation in Inverness, we can do that as well.

This is a wonderful journey, led by an experienced guide travelling through a variety of landscapes from the alpine-like plateau of the Cairngorms to the salty sea at Spey Bay.

Meeting points:

Tesco Metro car park, Tomnahurich Street, Inverness – 8:30AM or 9:45AM at Aviemore Train Station.

End point:

Participants will be transported to Inverness Airport, bus/ train station or accommodation in Inverness.

Participant information Minimum age: 16 yo.  Must be able to swim. Must have reasonable fitness levels in order to walk up Braeriach.  Some prior experience canoeing is preferable, though not essential.
Cost per person
£560 pp
Minimum booking charge For private groups we require a minimum of 4 people for this trip to run.

If you are travelling alone or with a smaller group, please check availability with our partner company Much Better Adventures.  (We run this expedition for them).

Wear We will provide a suggested kit list and advise on what kinds of things you need to bring along.
Included All necessary paddling equipment, camping and cooking equipment (excluding sleeping bags), food from lunch on Day 1 until lunch on the final day;  transport from the meeting point on Day 1 until we drop of you off in Inverness on the final day.
Location Cairngorm Mountains & The River Spey


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