Itinerary

Day 1: Neptunes Staircase - Gairlochy

Your guide can collect you at Inverness at 8.30 am or meet you at the start point in Fort William at 10:30 am.

The journey begins on the calm waters of the Caledonian Canal, which is a perfect place to learn basic skills before heading out onto the Lochs. Your wild camp spot this evening will be on the picturesque shores of Loch Lochy.

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After a hearty breakfast, you'll get back into your canoe and paddle towards South Laggan, which provides a perfect opportunity to grab some refreshments at the Eagle Barge. After lunch, you'll make your way onto Loch Oich - the watershed of The Great Glen.

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After sunrise, the tranquil paddle along Loch Oich offers you opportunities to explore secluded shores and wooded bays. At the end of the Loch, you'll join the Caledonian Canal towards Fort Augustus, where you can enjoy some food and drink overlooking Loch Ness.

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You'll continue your journey down the famous Loch Ness. With the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands on either side of you and Urquhart Castle guarding the bays, today is truly one of those spectacular moments.

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The final day will see you leave Loch Ness for a more relaxing paddle on the canal and on to Inverness, where you will have paddled across Scotland.

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23 verified reviews

Rated 5.0
Tim
Tim

Traveled Oct 2022

Absolutely fantastic trip and the weather was reasonably kind to us for this time of year. We were a small group of only six including the guide which I think made it a bit more intimate and encouraged everyone to help each other out. Our guide Emy was superb in her knowledge and patience with all of us and I know everyone enjoyed the trip. I would definitely consider doing this again and could not recommend this trip and Scotish Rock and Water enough. Loved it!

David
David

Traveled Aug 2022

An amazing trip with an exceptional guide, who's knowledge and experience was invaluable throughout. Amazing views as mentioned. A perfect adventure trip.

Adi
Adi

Traveled Aug 2022

We had an absolutely fantastic time. Emy was a wonderful, friendly, and knowledgeable guide. The campsites were all really good and the canoeing was amazing fun, especially on Loch Ness. We would highly recommend it.

Sarah
Sarah

Traveled Aug 2022

Amazing trip with a wonderful group of people led by our fabulous guide Emy

Vikki
Vikki

Traveled Aug 2022

This trip was amazing, I loved every minute. From the canoeing, the wild camping, the company, the vegan food that our guide Rory cooked up each day (don't worry there were meat options too) and the scenery - just awesome. Just a few pointers that people probably need to think about when booking - your feet will get wet, even if you manage to avoid capsizing you are going to get your feet wet getting in and out of the canoe so be prepared. You do need some level of fitness for the portages and the canoeing tbh, it really is at least 6hrs a day and sometimes into a head wind. And don't worry about taking a chair, unless it's one of those teeny tiny foldy uppy ones, they just get in the way. Other than that if you are thinking about booking then book, when we finished I just wanted to carry on - signs of a great time.

Louise
Louise

Traveled Aug 2022

We had a fantastic trip with Rory, our guide for 5 days canoeing along Loch Ness, the Caledonian canal, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. The weather was unpredictable, but Rory kept us up to date and flexibility was key to making the trip enjoyable rather than an arduous task! Wild camping was great and our chef (Rory) kept us well fed! We'd highly recommend this trip.

E
E

Traveled Aug 2022

Excellent! Wow what a fantastic time my Daughter and I had. Beautiful scenery, wildlife and a lovely group. Our tour guide Rory did an amazing job the food was lovely and the wild campsites picked out made the best of the shelter and views.

Shirley
Shirley

Traveled Aug 2022

I really enjoyed the trip. The guide was very knowledgable about canoeing techniques and the local area and the food was great.

Jonathan
Jonathan

Traveled Jul 2022

This was a great trip, and an unforgettable experience. I was fortunate to be with a wonderful group people, and an excellent guide, Laura. We gelled well straight away, and there was really good communication. The weather was pretty great too. We made fast progress at the start, though you should be aware that it can be hard work at times, especially when the wind is against you. You have to be prepared for some pretty long days on the water. The food was very good, and the guidance of what to pack is really helpful – my only mistake was perhaps taking more clothes than I really needed! Tents are easy to put up and the camping places were all pretty good, and I was super impressed that our guide Laura (of Scottish Rock & Water) was able to constantly reevaluate and make minor changes to the stopping points as we went, depending on progress and how the group were doing. The food was ideal. The Great Glen is a truly beautiful part of the world – I feel very glad indeed that I undertook this trip.

steve
steve

Traveled Jul 2022

From the beginning at booking almost a year ago till we finished our canoe trip the comms with Steve at scottish rock and water was exceptional. Its hard to leave a review that is not just all glowing and can instead give constructive feedback ..... With that in mind the below is a brain dump. 1 - booking - was painless - we had people swap in and out over the year without issue. 2- food- The entire trip was catered, we had alternate hot cold breakfasts, wraps for lunch and hot evening meal all cooked with the groups dietary challenges in mind ( veggie and myself who was allergic to tomato). There was more than enough food coffee tea and hot chocolate. Only possible constructive i would give on this would be dont forget the tea bags :P ( in group joke) 3- activity - the canoe trip had all sorts of weather wind rain waves the lot. Laura our trip guide was exceptional at motivating us when we needed to dig deep to get across a swell and at the same times with humour and banter to keep spirits up. Her water skills are exceptional and i highly recommend you request Laura if she is available. Her knowledge of where to make camp based on the weather etc was paramount to our success in getting across Ness. Even if we did have to bail at times :P. Taking into account various team members physical ability or experience Laura ensured we felt able to push hard when needed. 4 - kit - we brought our own crash mats but other than that everything else was provided by Scottish rock and water. in terms of personal kit i would recommend scuba boots and seal skin socks, dont forget your sun block, a tick remover, dry bags for inside the barrels since the barrels are not water tight. A Battery pack for cameras and phones recharge and most important a snack bag in a dry bag for munchies when on the water. in terms of midge we used smidge and avon skin so soft. 5- Portage - think the itinerary mentions one or two portage on day 1 or such. in reality there are quite a few. on one day there were 3 portage ( all short distance) on another there were one or two long ish portages. Everyone grouped up 4 to a canoe to get them over so dont worry.

Kerry
Kerry

Traveled Jun 2022

Amazing! Fabulous trip with some wonderful people and a fab host!

Kal
Kal

Traveled Jun 2022

An excellent trip. The whole thing was expertly planned and lead. Canoeing was thoroughly enjoyable, wild camping in spectacular places, food freshly prepared. Highly recommended.

Mary
Mary

Traveled Jun 2022

Amazing trip, had so much fun. The guide made me feel safe and comfortable while canoing and we got to see some lovely views and camp in beautiful surroundings.

Niall
Niall

Traveled May 2022

An amazing trip, professionally organised from start to finish. Our guide, rory, was excellent from the moment we met him, talked us through everything we needed to know, gave safety talks and really put us at ease, then proceeded to lead us through the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. Camping was as described, wild!! If you are expecting glamping and luxury, forget it!! This is a back to nature experience, camping in remote woodland clearings on the banks of lochs, putting up and taking down your own tent, build your own fire, etc etc. Having said that, I would recommend this trip to anyone with a sense of adventure, who doesn't mind getting stuck in and just enjoying everything this trip has to offer

Lynda
Lynda

Traveled May 2022

Had an absolutely brillant time from start to finish. Our guide Rory was a star. First day was wet and cold, but just added to the experience. Would do it all over again. Only suggestion I would make is to put wellies on the list of things to take. Thank you so much for a brillant adventure 😊

Sophie
Sophie

Traveled Apr 2022

The description of equipment needed to bring yourself was inaccurate which impacted on luggage while flying to the destination, meaning we brought unneeded items. The level of fitness required is higher than described in my opinion due to portages etc The guide was very good and provided nutritious tasty food. She was very friendly and attentive to the participants The imbalance between the canoes used meant one was slower than the rest which meant we had to wait for the paddlers to catch up on many occasions. On one occasion during a swell waiting for this couple put us somewhat at risk in my own opinion. At times we were also a distance from shore which I believe is contrary to the guidance I read on boards along the route. Overall I would definitely recommend. Be aware this trip includes wild camping - on these sites no facilities are available. Not an issue for me but some members of the group struggled with this meaning we camped in less Isolated or ideal locations

Naomi
Naomi

Traveled Apr 2022

A fabulous experience , views amazing but not an accurate description or following safety guidance for canoeists. You need a good level of fitness, and will canoe in centre of lock not in the shoreline and the wild camping was more often than not was not wild camping but in a corner of a loch with toilets and showers which we found disappointing when there were beautiful spots near by that were wild. Our boat was wonky and we nearly capsized in heavy wind due to this which was in fact terrifying., especially because we were deep in the water and not near the edge. Please make sure you are fit and prepared to carry heavy loads daily. All this aside, the views were fabulous . One boat was known to be slow which meant waiting around a lot which my partner found very frustrating . A good trip but we were out at risk by not following the guidelines on all the boards along the lochs .

anthony
anthony

Traveled Apr 2022

Absolutely brilliant fun trip. The kit, the food, the care and attention from the leader was first class. I would certainly recommend this company to others and would use them again.

Donna
Donna

Traveled Sep 2021

It was awe inspiring. We are both 50+ and relatively active. We had the best time getting back to basics and enjoying the love of the land. Rory our guide was amazing and knew all the best spots to camp. Portaging was hard work but we loved it. The views were amazing.

Sarah
Sarah

Traveled Sep 2021

Absolutely amazing trip. One to remember for sure!

Tracy
Tracy

Traveled Jul 2021

A really unique experience. Stunning scenery and we had beautifully prepared meals and snacks throughout. Lots of help if needed with tents and equipment, and everyone in the group was supported if they had any particular preferences. Stephen was flexible and accommodating and very knowledgeable, with a wealth of experience and an keen eye on safety throughout. I would highly recommend for singles, couples and families. I hope to return soon.

Vanessa
Vanessa

Traveled Jul 2021

This was one of the best trips I have been on. The information before hand meant I felt prepared and had a good idea of what to expect and we were so well looked after. Everything was well organised and Stephen gave us great tips to get us started on the water, even if we were initially rubbish at steering :-). The scenery was amazing, the group a hoot, the food brilliant (despite dietary quirks), and the wild camping gave you a sense of being in the wilderness. Loved it and can't wait until my next adventure.

Lynda
Lynda

Traveled Jul 2021

I booked this trip last year by myself,i was a little apprehensive about doing this and who my guide and team mates would be.But as soon as I met Stephen I just knew I had made the right decision and after also meeting my team mates knew this was going to be an amazing trip and adventure. It didn't take me long to feel safe with Stephens professionalism and knowledge. The Information that was on the website as to what I needed to take was very accurate and any questions pre trip were answered promptly. All the equipment that was provided was in great condition. The meals that Stephen cooked were outstanding and plenty selection for us who had special dietary requirements.Nothing was to much bother for Stephen to give us the best experience..I had the best time of my life meeting Stephen and the rest of my team.We laughed until our heads hurt the whole time.But when we met more challenging waters Stephen made sure we were safe at all times. The evenings that we had wild camping by the Lochs and camp fires are memories I will truly never forget. I feel I have made friends for life through this trip and it definitely wouldn't have been possible if Stephen wasn't the guide he was. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone and I'm looking forward to meeting up with the team again soon for our next adventure.Thank you so much to all at Scottish Rock & water as I know their team is also amazing and deserve praise too.This trip literally meant the world to me.See you all soon again X

FAQs

- Waterproofs, top and bottoms - Walking trousers (synthetic materials; jeans or similar are not suitable) - Spare shoes to get wet plus dry shoes for camp - Quality, breathable waterproof jacket and trousers. We recommend Gore-tex or similar - Spare insulating layer - Hat & gloves - Warm socks - Sleeping bag, 3 season - Spare full set of clothes x 2 - Some large zip-lock bags to keep your clothes and equipment organised  - Head torch, plus spare batteries - Water bottle or flask - Foldable camping chair (optional) - Sunglasses and sun cream (you just never know!) Personal medications

If you book solo we will provide a tent to have your own sleeping space. If you book as part of a group/pair then we would provide either 2 or 3 man tents to share

There are several designated "Wild Camping" locations along the way where you'll camp.

Included - Highly experienced & qualified guide - On-course transport - Canoes, paddles & buoyancy aids - Waterproof storage, 60ltr barrels per person - Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinners - Camping stoves, tea, coffee - Inflatable camping mats - Tents 2 or 3 person - Safety equipment - Photos from your adventure Excluded - Sleeping bag - Personal spending money for drinks and snacks - Appropriate clothing - Return transport to Fort William

You don't need any paddling experience to enjoy this adventure - the guides are great at making it enjoyable for all abilities. You'll need a moderate level of fitness, as you'll paddle around 15-20km per day, which will involve about 6 hours on the water per day. There are some portages that will require a bit of team effort to get the boats around the canal locks. We have trollies to help with these sections. You can expect plenty of rest stops along the way.  Most people have little to no canoe experience, and that's ok. You'll spend time learning the basic skills from your expert guide. 

Start: There are 2 options on day 1 of the itinerary: - 08:30 at Inshes Retail Park in Inverness. From here, Our 9 seater minibus will transport you to Fort William. - 10:30 at Banavie Locks Car Park in Fort William. Also the official start of your canoe journey. End: Your trip will end in Inverness roughly at 2 pm. Please note, we don't return to Fort William at the end of the trip. This is why we advise you meet us in Inverness on the first day to leave your transport at the end of the trip.

Day 1: Lunch, Dinner. Day 2 - 4: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  Day 5: Breakfast and Lunch.

There will be a maximum of 8 clients, with 2 people sharing a canoe. There is no minimum group size (all trips are guaranteed to run).

You don't need to be able to swim as you will have a life jacket (buoyancy aid/ personal floatation device) on, but some level of water confidence is essential. Whilst unlikely, it is possible that your canoe could capsize, so you need to be happy spending sometime in the water, whilst your guide empties your canoe.

The guides supply dry bags and barrels to keep everything nice and dry! Each person will have one large 60-litre barrel for their own personal use.

The total distance is 100km. Each day you will paddle for up to 6 hours at a moderate pace, with plenty of breaks along the way.

The minimum for this adventure is 18, or 14 if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Anyone under the age of 18, must be sharing a canoe with their parent or guardian.

There will be times that you'll pass by shops throughout the trip How much money you take, depends on your spending habits. 

Yes absolutely! It's a great way to meet like-minded people. 

Winter season (Nov – Mar) Winter in Scotland can be extremely cold. In Scotland, temperatures can go as low as -15 degrees Celsius. Shoulder (Apr– May & Oct) Temperatures in Scotland can vary at this time of year. Lows of 2 degrees Celsius and highs of 15 degrees Celsius. There can be some chances of rain, with May turning very green. High Season (Jun – Sep) June to Sept can be warm, with daytime temperatures ranging from 10 – 25 degrees Celsius. There can be some rain. The weather in the mountains can be quite unpredictable and weather situations can change very quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to always be prepared for such a change.

Sometimes the weather can deem an activity unfeasible for a set period of time. If this is the case, then your guide will offer an appropriate alternative. Examples are as follows: - The itinerary in reverse. The trip is much more enjoyable when you are not battling against the wind.  - Canoe a different section of water. - Hike the Great Glen trails. 

Absolutely - try and give the guide as much notice as possible of any dietary requirements. You can do this when completing your participation form after booking. 

Your head guide is Stephen

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Scottish Rock & Water, based in Newtonmore.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!

Stephen