Canoe Coast to Coast across Scotland

Paddle across Scotland from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east. 5 days.

  • United Kingdom
  • April, May, July—September
  • Inverness Airport, Inverness (INV)

As you paddle your canoe along 100km of flat water on the Caledonian Canal, you’ll traverse the legendary lochs of Ness and Lochy and camp at remote sites along the route. Throughout this trip, you’ll be coached in paddling skills, reaching the end of the route a more competent canoeist.

Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 5 days canoeing
  • 4 nights camping
  • Local, certified guide
  • All canoeing equipment
  • All camping equipment
  • Meals and snacks throughout the trip
  • Local transfers
  • All taxes, insurances and licenses relative to the trip

Perfect for: Anybody with a sense of adventure! Beginners and keen canoeists alike who fancy experiencing the beauty of the Great Glen Canoe Trail in this long distance paddle.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Transport to Inverness
  • Additional accommodation
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance

This trip will run with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 7.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Your host suggests some experience in canoes or kayaks but coaching will be provided throughout the trip so this is not essential.

The Scottish summer is usually warm but you can expect some rain at some point, even if just a little. Prepare for anything and think ‘layers’.

For breakfast, you can 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.

If you have any special requests, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.

  • All paddling equipment
  • Safety equipment
  • Camping equipment

A full packing list will be provided.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Light layers of clothing
  • Warm clothing for the evenings

Other recommendations are: - Camera - Mobile phone - Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)

Start point?
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). Your host will be in touch before your trip to finalise details.

Finish point?
Your tour will end in Inverness in the early afternoon. Your host will transfer you to the town centre train station, bus station, or your accommodation in Inverness. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Inverness is well served by train routes. 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.

With an early start on the first day of the trip, your host suggests an overnight stay before the trip and on the last day of the trip, which you will need to arrange separately.

Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Children over the age of 13 are welcomed on private trips (accompanied by an adult).

Sure, get a group of 5 or more together and book a private date. This way you can be more flexible on your dates and take fewer days off work. Win win.

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Location

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Scotland’s Great Glen is the result of a tectonic collision that raised the Scottish Highlands and opened a giant crack running arrow-straight from Fort William to Inverness. It is now filled with four great lochs (Linnhe, Lochy, Oich and Ness) and surrounded by some of the UK’s highest mountains, as well as popular walking and cycling paths.

Inverness is a compact, cosmopolitan city on Scotland’s most northeast coast and is regarded as the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. The Old Town is home to the 19th-century Inverness Cathedral, the 18th-century Old High Church, and an indoor Victorian market selling food, clothes and crafts.

Start point?
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). Your host will be in touch before your trip to finalise details.

Finish point?
Your tour will end in Inverness in the early afternoon. Your host will transfer you to the town centre train station, bus station, or your accommodation in Inverness. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Inverness is well served by train routes. 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.

As the wind is susceptible to change, your hosts recommend you stay in Inverness the night before departure in case they need to change the setting off point last minute. Inverness is well-connected via public transport – namely buses and trains – and it’s best to fly into the city’s airport.

Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

What to Expect

Monday: Paddle From Fort William to Gairlochy

You’ll meet your host in Inverness at 09:00 for the drive to Banavie, near Fort William (2-hour drive).

On arrival, you’ll pack your canoe and have a practice paddle in the canal basin to get used to steering a fully laden canoe.

You’ll then begin your 11km paddle to Gairlochy and find a remote campsite. Tuck into some tasty grub prepared by your guides, get to know the group and wild camp under the stars.

11km paddle

Tuesday: Gairlochy to Loch Oich

After breakfast at camp, you’ll get back on the water and spend most of the day paddling the length of the creatively-named Loch Lochy.

At the head of the lock, you’ll pass through Laggan Locks and paddle a 2-mile section of canal taking you to Loch Oich.

Here you can take your time and explore the wooded bays of the loch while looking for a suitably secluded camping spot.

25km paddle

Wednesday: Loch Oich to Alltsigh

After you leave Loch Oich this morning, you’ll carry your boats and kit around the small lock gates at Cullochy and Kytra, reaching the village of Fort Augustus where you’ll re-stock on supplies.

Before leaving the village, you’ll practice your portage skills down a larger set of lock gates before continuing your journey by taking on the 36km long Loch Ness.

You’ll find a remote spot to camp for the night halfway along Loch Ness and enjoy dinner on the beach while on the look-out for Nessie.

24km paddle

Thursday: Nessie Spotting and Final Night in the Dores Inn

Today will be a full day on Loch Ness and the weather will determine what kind of day it is; if a strong wind is blowing it can get tough and, although rare, you could find yourself negotiating some decent waves.

In normal conditions, it’s a leisurely paddle and you may even have time to stop off at Urqhuart Castle and explore the Historic Scotland Visitor’s Center.

When you finally reach the head of Loch Ness, you’ll find a spot to set up camp before heading to the Dores Inn to celebrate your last night with the group.

22km paddle

Friday: Final Paddle from Dores to Inverness

As you leave Loch Ness behind this morning, you’ll paddle the smaller Loch Dochfour.

After negotiating the last canal loch of the journey, you’ll paddle through rolling farmland and into Inverness where your adventure comes to an end.

Once the canoes are unpacked, your transfer will take you to Inverness train station (or a location of your choice in the city center) for your forwarding journey home.

10km paddle

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.

Accommodation

You’ll spend your days exploring from the unique perspective of the river, wake up to a new horizon each morning and spend your evenings in the welcomed solitude of Scotland’s highlands. Accommodation will be basic and there is only one opportunity to shower (in Fort Augustan), so you may feel a little smelly, but we are sure you can get over that.

You’ll camp at remote spots along the lochs in shared or singles tents provided by your host.

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Equipment
  • Guide
  • Local Transport
  • Meals As Described

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Your host will confirm your booking subject to availability. There may be a minimum number of guests required to guarantee that a trip will go ahead.

Special requirements? Get a quote for a custom trip

Sorry, no private trips are currently available for this product. Try a group trip or ask for a quote.


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