United Kingdom

Canoe Expedition Across Scotland

16

Discover Scotland's wild landscapes, on this epic 5-day canoe trip passing Ben Nevis and Loch Ness.

Itinerary

Day 1: Banavie to Gairlochy

You will meet your guide at the top of Neptune's Staircase (set of lock gates) on the Caledonian Canal on the west coast of Scotland where you'll start your canoeing adventure.

The calm waters of the Caledonian Canal are the perfect way to warm up and get used to adventure ahead. Camp for the night at Gairlochy, overlooking the stunning Loch Lochy.

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Today you'll travel onto the open water of Loch Lochy, the 2nd largest loch of the trip. The highland backdrop of rolling hills will mesmerise you on the day's paddle. The campsite for the night is at Laggan Locks where the Eagle Barge awaits for a welcome refreshment.

Occasionally, if its very windy, our plans may have to change slightly but we will still strive to make sure you have an adventure.

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Today sees a great variety of canoeing. Firstly on the calm waters of the Caledonian Canal, then navigate your way to the peaceful Loch Oich where you can explore some of the wooded bays and secluded shores. You'll end the day with a portage around the canal locks at Fort Augustus. During the portage, you'll be gifted with the first glimpse of the majestic Loch Ness. Tonight's campsite gives the opportunity for a refreshing shower.

Occasionally, if its very windy, our plans may have to change slightly but we will still strive to make sure you have an adventure.

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Your first day on Loch Ness is spectacular. Framed by highland mountains this loch is steeped in myth, legend and history. Soak up the atmosphere before camping on the shores, enjoying dinner at your camping spot. Don't forget to keep a watchful eye out for Nessie.

Occasionally, if its very windy, our plans may have to change slightly but we will still strive to make sure you have an adventure.

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Your last day of expedition completes your journey across Scotland. You'll paddle down the remaining stretches of Loch Ness before shuttling back to Fort William or travelling on to Inverness.

Occasionally, if its very windy, our plans may have to change slightly but we will still strive to make sure you have an adventure.

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16 verified reviews

Rated 5.0
Raynor
Raynor

(Sep 2022)

An amazing excursion that was expertly organised and catered for all our needs. The guides were helpful, patient and very knowledgeable on local geography and canoeing skills. I would highly recommend this adventure and can’t wait to book again soon.

Sarah
Sarah

(Sep 2022)

Where to start. I cannot believe that we and I actually completed this trip. It has been an amazing experience, one I shall never forget and a story to tell for years to come. I am so proud of us all. Will and Barry were amazing guides, hosts and looked after us all so well. Thank you everyone for being part of such an amazing harmonious group, you know who you are. Sarah 💋

Ioana
Ioana

(Sep 2022)

Excellent trip..the landscapes were amazing, food was delicious and everything has been very well organized. Thanks Will and team to have offered me such a great adventure.

FAQs

Included - Guides - Accommodation - All Meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 5 - Specialist equipment (canoe, tent, paddles, buoyancy aids) Excluded - Appropriate clothing - Sleeping bags

You don't need any paddling experience to enjoy this adventure - the guides are great at making it enjoyable for all abilities. You do need a moderate level of fitness. The canoeing is up to 6 hours of paddling each day, with plenty of breaks along the way. To get around the many lock gates on the canal the whole team have to portage (move the canoes) and carry all the equipment up to 500m. This can be strenuous and hard work but all part of the journeying experience.

Water Whilst doing adventurous activities, it's important to carry enough water and stay hydrated. Please bring your own water bottle, of approx one -two litres capacity, so you can drink at any time. We will be carrying fresh water with us at all times. Food The guides work hard to use great quality, local produce where possible to prepare fantastic meals for you. Here are some examples of what you can expect: Breakfast: porridge, bacon, pancakes, bagels, fresh tea or coffee. Lunch: Normally a buffet-style feast with fresh bread, wraps, oatcakes, cold meats and cheese. Dinner: A freshly made, warm meal every evening. Curry, Moroccan Stew, haggis neeps and tatties followed by homemade cake! Snacks: There will be plenty of snacks available every day to make sure you have all the energy you need! Food on your trip is included as follows: Day 1: Lunch, Dinner Day 2 - 4: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Day 5: Breakfast If you have any food restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, gluten intolerance etc) please make us aware of this when completing your registration form, found on your Skyhook dashboard. The guides can cater for most people.

The guides on this trip believe that to give you a quality experience, you need to be comfortable. They work with a number of companies to ensure that the equipment available on the trips are not only fit for purpose but also the best quality. You’ll be provided with: - Tents (shared) - Dry bags/Barrels - All Safety equipment** You’ll need to bring: - Sleeping bag* (3 season is best) - Sleep mat* - Waterproofs* (Jacket and Trousers) - Outdoor clothing for wearing when you're on the water - quick drying fabrics are best. - Spare clothing for wearing in camp or if you have an out of boat experience - Shoes for when paddling - old trainers, wetsuit shoes, short wellies are all great. - Shoes for camp - Toiletries - Torch - Midge net for your head and spray (Smidge is best we find) - Cap and/or warm wooly hat - Sun protection - Personal medication - Camera We recommend that if you bring your phone on the water you bring a waterproof phone case. *Most people bring these items themselves however if you require them please just let us know when completing your form on the Skyhook dashboard. ** If you have your own safety equipment then that’s great. To use on any of the guides trips, the equipment must be CE marked, (ENISO12402) under 5 years old and be fit for use.

The guides and clients use tandem canoes so you will share a canoe with one other person.

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.

There will be 4 nights of camping. Some wild and some at a basic campsite with some facilities but this can not be guaranteed . Where there are no toilets, our guides will explain how to go to the toilet properly when in the wild so that we leave no trace. There are proper toilets though, along the canal, at every set of lock gates.

There will be times that you'll pass by shops. Sometime on your trip you will be able to have the opportunity to visit the highland town of Fort Augustus where there will be shopping opportunities.

The maximum group size is 8

Start: Your guides will meet you at Neptune's Staircase in Banavie just outside Fort William at 11am. IF arriving by : - Car: you can follow your satnav to the following address – Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie, Fort William, PH33 7NG. There is free car parking available here at Banavie Locks Car Park and then walk to the start point (it will be shown on your dashboard after booking). - Bus: There are buses available from both Fort William and Inverness. However, this is a much slower option. Full details can be found on the Scotland Citylink Bus website. Taxis are available from Fort William Train/Bus Station and cost around £10 to your start location. - Train: You can get a train to Fort William, and then a taxi to your start location at Neptune’s Staircase. Taxis are available from Fort William Train Station and cost around £10 to your start location. Trip End: Your guide will arrange a taxi to drop you off at either Inverness Train Station or back at Fort William by 4 pm on day 5 of your itinerary. We make sure everyone gets to where they want to be. The trip itinerary occasionally has to change slightly if the winds are very high so we can never say for sure that it will end at a certain location. We aim for the north end of Loch Ness but it can't be 100% guaranteed - that's all part of an adventurous journey. The cost for this part of the trip is not included in the trip price. It is different for each group each individual but our guides help arrange pickups to make this as cost effective as possible.

No - you'll take most of your luggage into the boat with you. Empty suitcases and any clothes you don't need can be left in our vehicle while you are on the expedition.

Yes! Most people are solo travellers. 

You do not need to be able to swim on this trip as you will be wearing a buoyancy aid (life jacket) whilst on the water.

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

The weather in Scotland can be extremely unpredictable at all times of the year and the weather situations can change very quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to always be prepared for such a change. Canoeing is very affected by the wind and your guides may have to change the itinerary slightly if the high winds would make paddling unsafe. There are lots of lovely walks we can do for a half day or a day if paddling is not possible. Mid seasons (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.

We recommend a minumum age of 16.

Sometimes the weather can deem an activity unfeasible for safety reasons for a set period of time. If this is the case, then your guide will offer an appropriate alternative activity. High winds might mean we can't paddle for a half day or maybe even a whole day. Examples of alternative activities 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 some of the many trails around the Great Glen

As it stands, we are currently operating with no restrictions and are following current government guidelines. If you have any Covid or other symptoms just before the trip please consider whether you should come.

Your head guide is Beyond

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Beyond Adventure.

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!

Beyond