Top Seller

 United Kingdom

Canoe Across Scotland

190

Explore the Scottish Highlands, on this 5-day canoe trip passing Ben Nevis and Loch Ness.

Itinerary

Day 1: Neptune Staircase to Loch Lochy

You'll meet the team at Neptunes Staircase in Fort William, where you'll start your canoeing adventure.

The calm waters of the Caledonian Canal offer a perfect opportunity to learn some of the basic skills, before heading out onto Loch Lochy. Arriving at your wild camp on the side of the Loch, you'll enjoy dinner around the fire and some star gazing.

image_TKULYL9LBGNDJC4L
image_C2BPJBHWQU8QFUMY
image_8TSLB8AETK4MRPTA
media_LT49FT373EREDHCT
media_M3UZXN74J5829W8K
Day 2: Loch Lochy and onto Loch Oich

Today you'll paddle along the shore of Loch Lochy, taking in the amazing views of the Highland backdrops. At Laggan Locks, you can visit the Eagle Barge for refreshments, before heading to your camp on the shores of Loch Oich.

image_UQDWBDNBFJR2LRWN
image_KMM2TT2PNGS8ZGNF
image_ZJ8YD7VY9KRJ2V59
media_QMQ5QEEPCM6H58WX
Day 3: Loch Oich to Fort Augustus

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.

image_QYHXLNR6BLN7NF7U
image_NDGH5FQNUVZUTTHW
media_3TSMTNUHL7CEGNKK
media_QGNGUV39PNDT3LBB
Day 4: Loch Ness

As you paddle onto Loch Ness, the views are simply spectacular. Straight away you'll feel very much in the thick of the Scottish highlands, with a backdrop of the mountains and the myth and legends of the Loch itself. Make sure you keep a watchful eye out for Nessie. Your camp this evening will be on the shores of Loch Ness around the campfire.

image_HT9ENSBTUF24UYY8
image_72HY4F7NGZX9YX5H
image_47CPUWNBX2CF5CCM
Day 5: Loch Ness to Inverness

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

We usually arrive in Inverness between 1-2pm. We then shuttle you back to Fort William, arriving around 5pm.

If you want to be dropped off in Inverness we can drop you off at the airport, train station or a hotel. If you are wanting to fly or catch a train that day, we suggest booking a departure after 6pm.

image_6EWSUAUBD6RSQED4
image_NKSQFDN7XWL3FKYD
image_YWPLHZ3SXEX7KRMJ

What's Included

Included
  • Professional guides.
  • All technical equipment (canoe, paddles, drybags).
  • Cooking and camping equipment (tents, sleeping mat, stoves, crockery, etc).
  • Meals during the trip.
  • Transfer back to Fort William.
Not Included
  • Sleeping bag.
  • Personal spending money for drinks and snacks.
  • Appropriate clothing (waterproof jacket, trousers and a warm coat). Also check the kit list for personal items to bring.
  • Travel insurance.
Have a question?

If you have any questions about this trip or want to speak with an expert, get in touch.

We're ready to help.

Team Images
Team Images
Team Images

Rated 5.0

190 verified reviews

Laura
Laura

(Jun 2024)

What an epic adventure! I had the most amazing time with a great group and guide! I'd book this trip again I'm a heartbeat!

media_QJ38PW2JVW9F33FD
Liz
Liz

(Jun 2024)

Despite lots of rain and wind, this trip was absolutely fantastic. Well organised, well catered and the most fantastic guide (Robson). It felt like a true adventure - would highly recommend.

Annabelle
Annabelle

(Jun 2024)

This trip was amazing. Weather was mix but Robson did explain to us the options depending on bad weather. Wet tent on bad weather was not the best, but try to have it drying when possible. Food suitable for the activity we were doing. It was a good group to be with. It will be good to have a meeting the day before to be able to prepare bags properly and information if weather change.

Clare
Clare

(Jun 2024)

What an amazing adventure. I have enjoyed every minute of this trip. Great group of people. Excellent leaders who were not pushy and dictating. You knew you were in good hands right from the beginning. I am very fussy with food and I am really pleased to say they accommodated me without any fuss. Whatever was going on you were always a priority. I would book again in a heartbeat. Best trip I’ve taken 🛶👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

media_P835KU66HZBEA948
media_RLTB69C83RZSR366
media_MSA8SXDP8K86UEFH
media_DZZNZ3XWEANVKJ9E
Sue
Sue

(Jun 2024)

Wonderful trip. The guides Pete and Sam were amazing, making sure it was fun but also with safety built in.

FAQs

Before you go

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 20km per day, which will involve about 6 hours on the water per day. You can expect plenty of rest stops along the way. At the lock gates, the group will have to carry canoes around the lock gates. This requires some effort but the group will work together to do this. We provide trolleys to manoeuvre the canoes, and your drybag has rucksack straps. Most people have little to no canoe experience, and that's ok. You'll spend time learning the basic skills from your expert guide.

See the inclusions and exclusions section above.

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 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 (We won't make you share with strangers. If you have booked as a group, you may need to share, but we can usually accommodate needs.)*** - Self inflating 3cm sleeping mats. - Large Dry bags - All Safety equipment** You’ll need to bring: - Sleeping bag (3 season is best) - Waterproofs (Jacket AND Trousers) - Outdoor clothing for wearing when your on the water x2 sets, synthetic walking, cycling, running is best with a thin fleece. Avoid heavy cotton. - Sun hat and warm hat. - Warm jacket/fleece for camp. - Shoes for on the water (These will get wet) - Shoes for camp - Toiletries - Torch - Midge net (those made by Smidge work well) and spray - Sun protection - Personal medication - Camera. Overall, keep your kit pretty basic. Most people don't change clothes through the trip unless they get wet. It is worth investing in quality waterproofs. If it is a wet week, a spare cheap Pac A Mac work well as a 2nd waterproof ** 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, (EN ISO 12402) under 5 years old and be fit for use.

There will be a maximum of 12 clients, with 2 people sharing a canoe. We provide 2 guide on trips over 8 people, which gives the lowest guide to client ratios on these trips, to enhance your safety and enjoyment.

We recommend a minimum age of 18 years, or 14 years if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Anyone under the age of 18 must share a canoe with their parent or guardian.

Yes absolutely! It's a great way to meet like-minded people. Around a 3rd of our clients book solo. If you are nervous about booking solo, drop us a message for a chat. You will either be in a canoe with another solo traveller or with one of the guides. We work hard to foster a team approach when it comes to meal prep and tea breaks, and helping out with us is a great way to chat and get involved. If you book solo, you will have your own tent.

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 can be quite unpredictable and weather situations can change very quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to always be prepared for such a change.

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

You will be best flying into Glasgow and getting the train to Fort William. If you were to fly into Inverness, you would have to get the train to Inverness centre and then catch a bus (1.5 hrs) to Fort William. On the way home, Inverness is the better option

On your trip

Not at all! If you book solo, you won't have to share a tent. If you book with someone else, and you would like your own tent, we can usually accomodate this too.

Day 1: Lunch, dinner. Day 2: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Day 3: Breakfast and dinner Day 4: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Day 5: Breakfast. On day 3, you will have some time to explore Fort Augustus. During this time you will be able to get your own lunch in a cafe, pub, or buy fish and chips. On Day 5, there will be some lunch available, and the trip finishes at a cafe where you can buy your own refreshments. The guides also provide snacks throughout that are high in energy. Typical food items include: Breakfast: porridge, bacon or sausage sandwich, tea, coffee or juice. Lunch: sandwiches or soup - lots of different fillings available. Along with fruit and snacks. Dinner: BBQ, stir fry, spaghetti bolognese, lemon chicken, risotto. On some trips, there will be the opportunity to eat in a pub. If you want to do this, it will be at your own expense.

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 wild camping with no facilities. Depending on availability, you may have the opportunity to grab a shower on 2 of the days.

There are several designated "wild camping" locations along the way where you'll camp. At the locks, there are toilet and shower facilities.

Yes you can leave any unneeded possessions in the guides shuttle bus, at your own risk. These items won't be available every day - just the beginning and the end of the trip.

Your Canoe will be 'Prospectors'. They are all made in the UK and can have 2 people in each one.

The guides supply dry bags and barrels to keep everything nice and dry! Each person will have one large 60-litre drybag for their own personal use. This can easily fit in your tent, sleeping bag and personal possessions.

Start: You'll meet your guide at 10:00 AM in Banavie at Neptunes Staircase. End: At the end of the trip the guides will transport you back to Fort William, or drop you off in Inverness city centre.

Car: you can follow your satnav to the following address – Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie, Fort William, PH33 7NG. There is free car parking available at this point. 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. Train: You can get a train to Fort William, and then a taxi to your start location at Neptune’s Staircase. At the end of the trip, we will transport you back to the start location, or a place in Inverness.

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

We usually finish the trip around 1:00 PM, depending on the weather. After we have loaded up, we will transport you back to Fort William. We can either drop you off at Neptunes Staircase, local hotels, or the train station. If you wish to catch public transport from Inverness (this has a better train network than Fort William), we can drop you off at the rail station. There is a new line to be airport. If you want to do this, we suggest not departing before 6:00 PM.

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. 

Midge season in Scotland is the summer months (April to September). The worst months for midges are usually July and August although this differs each year depending on the conditions The midges don't bother you too much when we are canoeing ( which is all day) but can be bothersome at camp if the wind is low. It's nothing worth stressing too much over, even in the peak of the midge season, we generally find that everyone has a great time.

Other FAQs

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on this trip.

We provide this adventure in open canoes. We choose them as these are the best option to carry our kit (including group kit), as it is a completely self sufficient trip. Because of this, we don't allow people to bring their own kayaks, inflatable kayaks, or sit-on-top kayaks on the trip. The use of canoes also is safer in rough weather where we can provide more options to keep you safe. We provide the best group canoes on the market - Ace Prospectors XL. These are stable, predictable, and great paddled tandem. We, therefore, only allow our own canoes on the adventure. As you will be paddling tandem, we also prefer to use our canoes to prevent any damage to your own.

The Moorings hotel is near the start, the Ben Nevis Hotel is popular too. The pricing really does vary vastly week to week depending what else is on. Have a look on Booking.com

Your head guide is Richard

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Good2Go Adventures, based in Leeds.

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!

Richard