United Kingdom

Canoe Across Scotland

165

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

165 verified reviews

Daniel
Daniel

(Sep 2023)

I enjoyed every single minute of the trip. We had a mix of weather and some adrenaline pumping moments on Loch Ness; even when soaking wet we had fun! Our guides Sam & Geoff were great and we had a great laugh with them… Sam was a great cook and provided well balanced meals. Anyone thinking of doing this, be prepared to shit in the woods…

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Gaynor
Gaynor

(Sep 2023)

This was a truely exhilarating experience and I loved every bit of it!! Sam & Geoff we’re amazing leaders, with Sam’s cooking skills and Geoff’s wit, making this an adventure of a lifetime!!! Thank you so much to all our fellow canoeists, we made a wonderful team 🥰 Definitely do this trip!!! It was fantastic 🛶

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Gillian
Gillian

(Sep 2023)

What an amazing experience! I loved every minute and can’t thank Sam and Geoff enough for their instruction, patience, knowledge and excellent meals throughout. We had so many laughs and leave with great memories and new friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone looking for their next adventure.

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Sharon
Sharon

(Sep 2023)

This was the most amazing adventure, wonderful scenery and beautiful people in our group. Wild camping and canoeing was so enjoyable. I hadn’t been out in a canoe before, but I didn’t find at this was a problem as we were lead my our ever so capable instructors Sam and Geoff, very save pair of hands and knowledgeable, such good food cooked by Sam, two lovely guys, who made this trip run smoothly and great fun.

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Lesley
Lesley

(Sep 2023)

I just had the best time! The guides Sam and Geoff were superb from start to finish, from the welcome and introductions to the instructions and lessons and then there was the camping and food provision! The whole thing was planned with precision. It helped that we just had the best group and although 8 of us were already there as friends the other 4 were lone travelers and slotted in great with our crowd and we had the best time getting to know them. Not going to lie it was hard work in bits with the paddling and maneuvering, and the weather was changeable but we did have a couple of glorious days followed by a couple of tougher days where conditions were wet and wild (it is Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 after all!) but this only added to our experience. There were lots and lots of laughs along the way. Thank you to all the gang, and here’s to the next time 👍😁

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 maneuver 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 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 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. 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 10am in Banavie at Neptunes Staircase. End: At the end of the trip the guides will transport you back to Fort William. If Covid restrictions apply, you'll be required to make your own way back to Fort William. There are various public transport options available.

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 1pm, 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 transportfrom 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 6pm.

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. Therefore 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 will only allow our own canoes on the adventure. As you will be paddling tandem, we prefer to use our canoes to prevent any damage to your own.

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