Some experience in canoes or kayaks would be good but coaching will be provided throughout the trip.
Traverse 100km of flat water and experience the Great Glen Trail on a long-distance canoe adventure across Scotland
Cross the legendary Loch Ness and pretend that you’re not secretly looking for monsters
Wild camp at remote and beautiful spots along the way surrounded by some of the UK’s highest mountains
Banavie to Gairlochy
Meet your host in Inverness and drive to Banavie (near Fort William) where you’ll pack your canoe, get to know the group and have a practice paddle in the canal basin. Head for Gairlochy, where you’ll choose a suitably remote campsite and tuck into some tasty grub prepared by your guides and wild camp under the stars.
Get back on the water and paddle the length of the creatively-named Loch Lochy. Pass through Laggan Locks and navigate your way to Loch Oich from where you can explore the surrounding, wooded bays and look for a secluded and scenic camping spot.
Portage around the lock gates at Cullochy and Kytra, before reaching the village of Fort Augustus. Re-stock and then take on the world’s most famous loch, Loch Ness. Find a remote spot to camp and enjoy dinner on the beach as you pretend that you’re not secretly looking for Nessie.
Head of the Loch
The weather will determine your route and conditions today. If a strong wind is blowing it can get tough and you might even find yourself negotiating some decent waves. In normal conditions, however, it’s a leisurely, scenic paddle with views of Urqhuart Castle. That done, it's time to find a spot for the night at the head of Loch Ness before heading to the nearby Dores Inn to celebrate your last night with the group.
Paddle along Loch Dochfour and through rolling farmland before entering Inverness where your adventure will come to an end. Unpack your canoe and head back to Inverness train station (or a location of your choice in the city centre) ready for your journey home.
Local, certified canoe guides
4 nights wild camping
Munch on tasty food throughout
To and from the start point in Inverness
All your canoeing, camping and safety equipment
Travel to and from the start point
Visas where required
Day 2 – Day 4
What is the food like?
For breakfast expect cereal, bread, tea and coffee. For lunch, you can expect wraps with a variety of fillings, soup, and some home-baking for afters. Dinner will be 3-courses including pate and oatcakes, followed by a pasta or rice dish and a freshly made dessert such as chocolate cake made in a Dutch oven. Snacks and drinks will also be available between meals. Vegetarian, vegan and most dietary requirements can be catered for.
What is the accommodation like?
You’ll wild camp in twin share tents in remote and beautiful spots by the loch side. Accommodation is basic with only one opportunity for a shower (Fort Augustus). Single Tents are available upon request.
For solo travellers wanting their own personal space, you can request your own private tent on the trip (subject to availability). Just request when booking.
09:00 on Day 1
Inverness town centre, train station, bus station, or your accommodation in town.
Early afternoon on Day 5
You’ll meet your host in the car park at the Tesco Metro on Tomnahurich Street in Inverness at 09:00. You will then be transferred by minibus to Fort William (2-hour drive). We recommend you arrive the night before to ensure you don't miss your transfer.
Your trip will end in Inverness mid-afternoon. Your host will transfer you to the town centre train station, bus station, or your accommodation in Inverness. It is also easy to get a 25-minute taxi ride to Inverness Airport to catch a flight from late afternoon onwards. Please don't book any onwards travel before 5 pm in case of bad weather and a delayed arrival into Inverness.
Inverness is well served by train routes and flights. There is a daily Virgin Trains East Coast from London King’s Cross to Inverness, and a number of route options within Scotland with ScotRail. There are also direct flights from across the UK and Europe.
Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear
In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.
- Inflatable sleeping mat
- Cutlery, mug, bowl, plate
- Buoyancy aid
- Waterproof barrel for personal kit
- Canoe helmet
- Waterproofs (if requested)
Please let your host know of an indication of size for the waterproof clothing and helmet. Either an extra small, small, medium, large or extra large. An approx guess will do.
Available to Hire
- Sleeping Bag - see Optional Extras.
What do I need to bring?
- Facemask (while social distancing in play)
- Sleeping bag & sleeping bag liner if required (for extra warmth)
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- 2 sets of paddling clothes (lightweight, quick drying 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 evening)
- Canoeing shoes/ Trainers that you don’t mind getting wet (no flip flops). Wellies are good too.
- 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 time of year.
- Warm hat/ sun hat
- Spare socks and underwear
- Sun cream/ Lip salve/ sunglasses with protective case
- Midge head net & Midge repellent (June to September)
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, biodegradable shower gel/soap
- Small-medium towel
- Swimming costume if you fancy a swim in a cold loch!
- Torch (preferably head torch)
- Small day sack for waterproofs, snacks, sun cream etc.
- Camera (in waterproof bag if necessary)
- Spare batteries
- Water bottle
- Personal hand sanitizer
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 - needs to fit into a 60 litre canoe barrel (about the size of an expedition rucksack).
If you like to snack, please pack your own light snacks - remember they must fit in the bag!
Sleeping Bag Hire
Payable Before Departure
Sleeping Bag Hire
… Per Person
I really enjoyed the trip. The kit supplied was excellent and has prompted me to look for similar for personal use. The group dynamic was great even though I was the only 60+ person on the trip. The food was great. As an experienced group leader of adventurous activities, I thought the health & safety of the trip were very good with dynamic risk assessment of situations/conditions done well.
I loved that I could have such a fantastic, scenic adventure without getting on a plane! I was a bit anxious about booking this trip - worried my fitness levels were insufficient - so I'd just like to offer reassurance to anyone in a similar boat, that as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness (but nothing special), this is fairly challenging, but totally doable :)
Our host and guide, Jack, was an absolute non-stop superstar in making sure we had everything we needed and he was super considerate of my dietary requirements and conjured up the most amazing vegan meals so I never missed out - thank you!
The trip was fantastic, very well run and organised by and amazing competent and affable host. Everything you have thought of has been catered for including all the things you haven't. The scenery is stunning and the pace of the trip was very manageable, not least because of the constant vigilance of the guide. Thoroughly recommend!
A good few days with good company. Enjoyed paddling even in the rain! The last day felt a little too short, but otherwise, the other days had a good amount of time on the water
Excellent way to see the lakes and journey across Scotland, extremely well looked after and great company and food.
I can’t recommend this adventure highly enough! We were lucky to have spectacular weather, but aside from that the organisation was seamless, the group size just right, the equipment top notch, and the guide (Aidan) was simply wonderful. He was warm, gave excellent briefs, monitored and adapted to the wind conditions, and safety focussed (including a few wet and windy rescues!). Food was far better than I could have imagined, and the local knowledge meant that the camping spots were out of this world. Just book it. And pack some dry shoes and socks for the evenings!
Fabulous expedition. The views were beautiful and camping spots perfect. Our guide, Elliot, was excellent. Right balance of integrated into the group, felt super safe and looked after us very well. The group was lovely and we were all likeminded. It was at times very wet, midge covered and cold at night, but all somehow added to the experience and fun of travelling across Scotland. The challenge level was accurate, not easy, felt it in the shoulders!, but nothing too strenuous. I was excited to get going everyday, accomplishing it was great but also sad to be done. Lots of lovely hills, trees and animals along the way. I was glad to have wellies.
Amazing trip, really enjoyed the experience with stunning scenery and amazing people
Had a fantastic time Canoeing the Great Glen with a lovely group of people. Our guide Elliott was brilliant. He was so knowledgeable and worked hard to provide a great trip. The scenery and camping spots were also a highlight!
Amazing; relaxing yet challenging (given the nature of Scottish weather) and a fantastic opportunity to wild camp in beautiful Scottish surroundings!
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 2023 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.
Some previous experience in canoes or kayaks is preferable, but isn't essential, as guidance will be provided throughout. Possibly more important is to have a good level of general fitness, i.e. participants will be paddling 100km over the course of the trip, and tiredness is a factor. You’ll need to help lift boats and equipment, helping portage around some canal locks.
Sure can! Over 70% 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 for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.
Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.
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.
You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.
Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.
Pay In Installments
You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.
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