Canoe Expedition Across Scotland

United Kingdom

2

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5.00 (2 reviews)

Jessica
Verified - Travelled July 2021

Excellent trip with stunning views. Every stage is new and wonderful, an absolute voyage of discovery. Fell in love with Scotland. Given all the food is taken in the canoes it was fantastic quality an ...read more

Tony
Verified - Travelled June 2021

What a brilliant trip!!! The scenery was excellent and although tough at parts was extremely enjoyable. A must do trip for all. Gave me a true love of kayaking. Guides and food was great too. Can’t ...read more

  • 1(current)

FAQs

Included

  • Guides
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Specialist equipment (canoe, tent)
  • Pick up from Fort William train station at the start of the trip

Excluded

  • Appropriate clothing
  • Sleeping bags

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.

Start: Since Covid restrictions prevent people from sharing transport for long journies, your guide will now meet you at Neptune's Staircase in Banavie just outside Fort William at 10.30am. We can collect you from Fort William train station if you are arriving by train or staying in town the night before.

End: Your guide will drop you off at Inverness Train Station at 4 pm on day 5 of your itinerary. If Covid restrictions prevent people from sharing transport, your trip will end at the head of Loch Ness, where public transport or taxis are available to transport you. 

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. The canoeing is up to 6 hours of paddling each day, with plenty of breaks along the way. 

The maximum group size is 8

Yes! Most people are solo travellers. 

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 the vehicle.

Water

Whilst doing adventurous activities, it's important to carry enough water and stay hydrated. We strongly recommend taking between two and three litres of water. Your guide can give you advice on where to get water each day. This is often likely to be from a fresh stream, so please bring purification tablets if you feel it necessary.

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. Risottos, spaghetti bolognese, 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 and clients use tandem canoes that you'll share with one other person.

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. 

There will be times that you'll pass by shops. On the third night, you'll camp next to the highland town of Fort Augustus where there will be shopping opportunities.

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

There will be 3 nights of wild camping - at this stage there are no facilities and 1 night at a commercial campsite where there are showers and toilets.

We recommend a minumum age of 16.

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

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. 

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)
  • Lunch box (to keep food through the day)
  • Sleep mat*
  • Waterproofs* (Jacket and Trousers)
  • Outdoor clothing for wearing when you're on the water 
  • Spare clothing for wearing in camp or if you have an out of boat experience
  • Shoes for when paddling
  • Shoes for camp
  • Toiletries
  • Torch
  • Midge net and spray
  • Sun protection
  • Personal medication
  • Camera

*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.

As it stands, people are unable to share our transport due to social distancing regulations. You will be required to make your own way to Neptune’s Staircase for the start of our trip. If you have booked accommodation in Inverness then there are several ways that you can make this journey to the start of the trip:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available from Fort William Train Station and cost around £10 to your start location. Taxi back from the end location costs in the region of £130 - £150 and can be shared with the others in the group. If you decide on this option, then please let the guide know, who can book this for you.
  • Train: You can get a train to Fort William, and then a taxi to your start location at Neptune’s Staircase.

Hopefully, the restrictions will ease quite significantly before your trip. If this is the case, then the guide(s) can still help with transfers. 

Provided by Beyond Adventure

Skyhook Adventure is an Authorised Agent of Beyond Adventure. Please familiarise yourself with the Beyond Adventure Terms & Conditions and Skyhook Adventure's Terms & Conditions.