You may know you’re way around the huge number of Scottish Waterways and might be familiar with where to go and when, however, if you’re not and looking for some inspiration, here are a few ideas to whet your appetite.
For those with little experience of paddling canoes or sea kayaks:
The Great Glen is an amazing geographical feature in its own right; a huge fault line splitting Scotland in two, from Fort William in the shadow of Ben Nevis on the West Coast to the Highland Capital of Inverness on the east coast. This 100km journey could take between 3 and 5 days to complete depending on how far and fast you want to paddle each day, but makes a great introduction to paddle expeditions (although you do need to take care on Loch Ness and Loch Lochy in windy conditions).
Glen Affric is a beautiful and remote part of the country that’s worth a visit with or without a canoe. For the hill walkers amongst us, it is surrounded by Munros (mountains above 914m), so you could spend days exploring the hills as well as the two lochs in the glen. Loch Beinn A Mheadhoin and Loch Affric are surrounded by these hills and provide endless wild camping opportunities for the explorer. You do need to portage between the 2 lochs but this extra bit of work is worth the effort.
For those with whitewater experience:
The River Glass and River Beauly makes a wonderful leisurely 2 day trip. There are grade 2 rapids on this route so you need to know about whitewater rescue, but there are also plenty of easy going stretches to float down effortlessly. Then of course there is the grand finale, arriving in the amazing Aigas Gorge bringing this lovely journey to a spectacular end. The Aigas Gorge also makes a brilliant venue for an early morning wildlife canoe paddle (no whitewater experience required), paddling in silence as the sun comes up and the wildlife in the area starts to wake up.
The River Spey is a much more serious undertaking, with whitewater experience essential for your own safety. Grade 1 and 2 rapids with names like the ‘Washing Machine’ make this a great expedition, which would typically take from 3-5 days. With great scenery, exciting rapids to navigate and wild camping opportunities galore at your paddle-tips, this is one of Scotland’s finest river journeys.
And finally, for those seeking adventure into the unknown:
The Inverpolly area offers the walker and the paddler some of the remotest adventure in the UK. Three days would provide you with a great opportunity to see this amazing landscape close up and at its wildest, but you could extend your trip and include some hill walking too, with Suilven being a prime example of a great mountain to bag en route. This journey is not for the faint-hearted though; there are no shops to top up supplies and you do need to carry the boat over land on a couple of occasions. However, with effort comes reward and this would be a very rewarding adventure indeed.
Hopefully this very small selection of highlights will inspire you to get out and explore for yourself. If you need advice, need some equipment or indeed a guide why not get in touch, because that’s what we do best (Contact us)
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