Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Kayak and Wild Camp the West Coast of Scotland

Paddle the remote bays, rugged coastline and crystal clear waters of the dramatic West Highlands

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Trip Ref #10338

Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Kayak and Wild Camp the West Coast of Scotland

Paddle the remote bays, rugged coastline and crystal clear waters of the dramatic West Highlands

DURATION

3 nights

LOCATION

United Kingdom

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 day off work

SEASON

Apr—Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 7 people

MEETING POINT

Central Fort William

ACCOMMODATION

Wild camping

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

No previous kayaking experience needed, just a basic level of fitness will do

Paddle along stunning volcanic coastline, and wild camp on white sand beaches and islet-studded sea lochs

Discover hidden bays and wild skerries, eyes peeled for otters, porpoise, seals and sea eagles

Forage for shellfish, seaweed and coastal plants and brave the Atlantic Ocean for a cold water wild swim

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Mike, September 2022

    We had a great trip! Kayaking around this beautiful coastline felt so engaging, spotting seals and birds was a real highlight. The camping beaches were beautiful, and swims were... refreshing!! We were pretty lucky with the weather, it only rained for half of one evening and the wind was never too strong. When the breeze dies down the midges do come out, but we weren't too badly bothered by them overall. Our guide John was excellent, chatty & friendly and gave us clear guidance when the sea got a little bigger, so we always felt in control on the water. He also cooked up some great meals! The trip is a brilliant escape, I'd highly recommend it!

    Mieke, September 2022

    White sandy beaches, fresh vegetables in every meal, warm coffee and hot chocolates, a compassionate and funny local guide. This trip is a wonderful way to see the rural coast of Scotland and learn lots about the biodiversity living around you. The days are well paced with lots of opportunities to try more or less skills as you prefer. The evenings are in fantastic sunset view points or prime campfire locations. Would definitely go again!

    Naomi, September 2022

    If you need any persuasion just book this trip. Honestly one of the best things I have done. It’s difficult to put into words how brilliant it was. We had mixed weather but it made it more fun and a true Scottish experience. The group quickly bonded and the guide made it an enjoyable experience for everyone no matter what experience or ability. Would recommend to anyone and everyone. Best money I have spent in a long time.

    Ian, September 2022

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    Rebecca, September 2022

    Fantastic trip...the group dynamic, stunning scenery and excellent leadership from John made the trip magical. Despite every weather condition possible group morale was always high. So much food....and a glass of wine around a camp fire on a stunning beach (-or under a rainy tarp) made for an unforgettable experience. Highly recommend - even if like me you have never kayaked before!

    Lee, August 2022

    An amazing experience that was brilliantly organised. The group were all excellent, made all the better by the guides Scott and Stuart. They were friendly, patient, and everything you could wish for. I would request these two guides if I were to go again. The food was a highlight of the camping in amongst these beautiful locations.

    Rebecca, August 2022

    The trip was amazing the guides; Scott, supported by Stewart were really friendly, organised and knowledgable. The kayaking and camping equipment was excellent and the group were great fun - almost everyone booked the trip as solo travellers, but everyone was supportive and helped each other. We were exceptionally lucky to have Scott, an x-chef, so the food was truly outstanding. Scenery was out of this world and the weather was really fantastic too. Such a relaxing and enjoyable break. Would throughly recommend!

    Liam, September 2022

    Great trip, it’s just worth stating that you are at the mercy of the weather. High winds meant we couldn’t kayak for about 24 hours in the middle of the trip. This will always be a consideration with sea kayaking though. We kayaked as much as we could given the conditions.

    Jordan, August 2022

    Excellent trip in-part hosted by Stewart who was great going the extra mile (literally) to fetch wood for the campfire and to capture photos of the group as we kayaked through the sea lochs. Stewart was highly knowledgeable about field craft and local history. Awesome adventure!

    Cícero, August 2022

    This is a once in a lifetime experience I would recommend to anyone who might be hesitant of booking. Amazing views, great camping sites, very well organised route and equipment. The local team was impeccable in hosting this trip with fun and responsibility. Great value for money considering the guidance, food and provided equipment. Be aware that you must take the kit list seriously and bring everything in it. The amount of kayaking and general physical effort means you must have some preparation for this trip. Prepared hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and core are the main requirements for paddling. You also need to be able to pull your kayak above tide, which means pulling it around the beach or carrying it in pairs uphill. If you're up to the challenge, give it a go and you won't regret it.

    Included

    Guides

    Local, certified kayak guides

    Accommodation

    3 nights wild camping

    Meals

    Munch on tasty food throughout

    Equipment

    All your kayaking, camping and safety equipment

    Not Included

    Travel to and from the start point

    Personal expenses

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Fort William

    09:00 on Day 1

    Ends

    Fort William

    Approx 15:00 on Day 4

    Transfers

    You’ll meet your host in Central Fort William at 09:00. You will then be transferred by minibus to the start. We recommend you arrive the night before to ensure you don't miss your transfer.

    Your trip will end in Fort William mid-afternoon on the final day in Central Fort William.

    On the final day, there is a Citylink bus from Fort William to Inverness departing at 15.30 which we recommend for those customers heading to Inverness Airport.

    Travel options

    Regular trains run to Fort William from across the UK. The nearest airports are Inverness (INV) or Glasgow (GLA). Citylink run bus services from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness. You can also get a bus directly from Glasgow Airport to Fort William (twice a day in the summer).

    There are buses available from Glasgow to Fort William or from Inverness to Fort William. Please note if you are flying, you will need to arrive in Fort William the night before in order to make the start time as there are no connections which enable you to arrive early enough for the start on Day 1. Citylink and Megabus offer regular services with an approximate 2hr transfer time from Inverness, and 3 hr transfer to Glasgow Airport.

    There is also the option of the Caledonia Sleeper Train

    For those driving - there is a long-stay public Car Park next to The Moorings Hotel in Banavie, which we recommend using.

    Day 1

    Wild camping · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2 – Day 3

    Wild camping · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 4

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    For breakfast, there'll be cereal, bread, tea and coffee. For lunch, you can expect wraps with a variety of fillings, soup, and some treats to keep you going. Dinner will usually be a pasta or rice dish with a dessert. Snacks and drinks will also be available between meals. Vegetarian, vegan and most dietary requirements can be catered for.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Wild Camp

    You’ll wild camp in twin share tents in remote and beautiful spots by the loch-side and on the beaches. Accommodation is basic but the remote locations far make up for the lack of facilities.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers wanting their own personal space, you can request your own private tent on the trip (subject to availability). See Optional Extras for prices. Just request when booking. A solo tent will be provided for all solo travellers free of charge until the end of June due to Covid-based restrictions.

    Day 1

    To the sea!

    Kayaking

    8km

    Please note the route below is a sample itinerary. The actual route you paddle will be subject to the weather conditions at the time. The Guides also vary the routes and camp spots used throughout the season to minimise our environmental impact on any one location.

    Meet your host in Fort William and drive approx.45 mins to Kinlochmoidart, perched on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the West Highlands. You'll then pack and launch your kayak onto the sheltered water of Loch Moidart for an introductory paddling and skills session before gliding past the ruined Castle Tioram. Set up camp on the beach and enjoy your first night under the stars.

    Day 2

    To the beautiful beach of Smirisary

    Kayaking

    18km

    Today is all about building your skills and exploring the sheltered bays and islands of Moidart. You'll gradually wind your way northwards along rocky shores, hearing local folklore tales as you go. After a relaxed lunch stop, it's time to explore the entrance to Loch Ailort before crossing to the Ardnish peninsula and searching for a spot to camp for the night. The sunset from here is spectacular, all the more appreciated perched by the campfire.

    Day 3

    The Sound of Arisaig

    Kayaking

    15km

    Kickstart the morning with a fresh swim in the Atlantic then hop back in your kayak to continue steadily north and west across the mouth of Loch nan Uamh, taking some time to forage in the rocks and pools at low tide. The final wild camp will be in the wonderful islet-studded Sound of Arisaig, protected by hundreds of small tidal islands known as skerries, this is a spectacular spot for your final night under the Milky Way.

    Day 4

    Last paddle and swim

    Kayaking

    7km

    Another early morning sea dip for the brave before paddling for a couple more hours through the hidden sea lochs of Arisaig. You’ll reach a small road before lunch where you'll pack up and hit the road back to Inverness ready for your journey home.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What's included?

    • Tent
    • Inflatable sleeping mat
    • Cutlery, mug, bowl, plate
    • Buoyancy aid
    • 2 x 20 litre dry bags for personal kit
    • Kayaking waterproof jacket and trousers

    Please let your host know an indication of size for the waterproof clothing. Either an extra small, small, medium, large or extra-large. An approx. guess will do.

    What do I need to bring?

    • Sleeping bag & sleeping bag liner (if required for extra warmth)
      (sleeping bag must be in a compression sack to make it as small as possible to fit in the kayak)
    • Waterproof jacket for the evenings in camp
    • 2 sets of paddling clothes (lightweight, quick-dry trousers, woolly socks, base layer top, t-shirt or shirt)
    • Pyjamas if required (most sleep in a set of thermals or similar)
    • Fleece x 2 (1 for paddling, 1 for the evening)
    • Kayaking shoes/ spare trainers that you don’t mind getting wet (no flip flops)
    • Dry trainers for evenings
    • 1 set of warm evening clothes (we hope to have a campfire some nights so take old clothes that you don’t mind getting smoky and dirty)
    • Warm gloves depending on the time of year
    • Warm hat
    • Sun hat
    • Spare socks and underwear
    • Sun cream/ lip salve/ sunglasses with a protective case
    • Midge head net & midge repellent (June to September)
    • Toothpaste, toothbrush, shower gel
    • Small-medium microfibre travel towel
    • Swimming costume if you fancy a swim
    • Torch (preferably head torch)
    • Small day sack for waterproofs, snacks, sun cream etc.
    • Camera (in a waterproof bag if necessary)
    • Power bank/solar charger
    • Water bottle
    • Personal hand sanitiser

    Please note that cotton and denim clothing are not recommended for paddling in, as they have no thermal properties when wet. Bear in mind when packing - that all your personal kit, including sleeping bag and part of a tent will need to fit in the kayak. Please ensure that your personal kit (including your sleeping bag) fits in a 40ltr bag or 2 x 20ltr dry bags, these will be provided for you to use. If you like to snack, please pack your own light snacks - remember they must fit in the bag!

    Solo Tent Occupancy

    Payable Before Departure

    Solo Tent Occupancy

    Per Person

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 46kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    You do not need any previous kayaking experience, full training will be provided at the beginning of the trip and while on the water. A general level of fitness will be useful, building a little arm strength before can help with sea kayaking. You will be in a tandem kayak by default however if you have kayaked before and are particularly keen for a solo kayak this can be requested with your host - they are however subject to availability so please request on your booking form.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    The Scottish summer is usually warm but you can expect some rain, even if it's just a little. Prepare for anything and think ‘layers'. Conditions in April and May will be slightly cooler, with the potential for frost at night. Kit-wise, the main thing is a warm sleeping bag, or an additional bag liner if you feel the cold more.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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