Moidart Introduction to Sea Kayaking

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.

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

You will be collected at 9.00AM in Inverness on the morning of Day 1 by your guide for the tour.  Meet at Tesco Metro in Inverness city centre (a short walk from the bus station, train station and a range of accommodation).

The journey starts by heading south down the stunning Great Glen, which runs from Fort William in the West to Inverness in the East.  You’ll travel the length of Loch Ness getting a sense for just how big it is, then pass through the picturesque village of Fort Augustus at its southern end.  From here you’ll spot sections of the historic Caledonian Canal and see boats, big and small, as they make their way through the Great Glen Waterways.   The minibus transfer will be around 2.5 hours, arriving at Dalelia (Dail an Leigh), on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the West Highlands.

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 will be spent 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 3km, 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 12.00PM  the plan will be to drop the group off in Fort William at 1.00pm (for those that want to finish there), or continue back to Inverness for around 3.00pm, after a short lunch stop en route.

Please note – these departure times are approximate, and adventurers should not book onward travel by train or bus from Inverness before 16.00 or flights from Inverness airport that depart before 17.00.

Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
Start / Finish Point: Inverness city centre (09.00), but guests can join/depart the trip in Fort William (10.40) to minimise transfer times if it suits them better.
Suitable for: Beginners/Intermediate kayakers.  Min age 16 years old.
Type of craft: Tandem sea kayaks by default.  Solo kayaks available on request.
Accommodation: 3 nights wild camping (no facilities)
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,
Number in group: Up to 8 people
Booking: Group bookings on request only (minimum of 4 people required), and subject to availability.

If you are an individual or in a small group you should check the Much Better Adventures website for dates and availability.

sea kayaking west coast scotland