Challenging canoe expedition in the Scottish Highlands

Glencoe to Perth Canoe Expedition, Scottish Highlands.

This is a classic expedition starting in the wilderness of the Rannoch Moor beneath the high, rocky, mountains of Glencoe. We follow small rivers between the lochans across the moor, then sail or paddle across remote and beautiful lochs like Loch Rannoch on an epic journey passing famous mountians like Schiehallion.

Unlike most of our other trips for this one it is best if you have done some canoeing before as this is one of our more physically demanding trips.

Using canoes, we launch at the top of Glencoe, overlooked by its magnificent mountains. We make our way across the wilderness of Rannoch Moor. We paddle between lochs and lochans using linking rivers. As we travel down the system of lochs and rivers they grow in size, passing through the amazing landscape of the central highlands before reaching the river Tummel, then the river Tay and following it to Perth. This trip includes large areas of open water and white water rapids, so our guides will coach you in the necessary skills to complete this challenging journey.

Typical Itinerary

Travel to Perth the aftenoon before your trip. We will provide info on places to stay.

Day 1

You'll meet our guides in Perth/see 'other joining locations' and travel in our vehicle to our "put in" in Glencoe. We leave the A82 Glencoe to Glen Orchy road behind as we paddle across loch Ba and then use the river Ba to reach Loch Laidon. Immediately you leave the road behind there is a expansive feeling of wilderness right from the start of this trip.

Day 2

In the morning after coffee and breakfast we paddle down the grade 3 mountain river the Garbh Ghaoir into Loch Eigheach. After portaging a dam we either paddle or pole down the River Gaur, which varies in water level depending upon release from the dam. When we reach loch Rannoch, if the wind is blowing from the west, its predominant direction, we sail the canoes the 16km to Kinloch Rannoch to find another stunning wild campsite.

Day 3

After breakfast it's onto a short, easy river that flows into Loch Dunalastair then we paddle the upper river Tummel which has grade 2-3 white water and a harder grade 4-5 waterfall which most will portage. We enter loch Tummel and find camp.

Day 4

We finish paddling loch Tummel and after portaging the dam, either paddle or pole the lower Tummel. This contains grade 3 and 4 drops which can be portaged and in open canoes most will portage the class 4 drops, especially the final water fall into Loch Faskally, which is used for white water rafting. If this section is on high release we will portage this short section of river. If you would like, we can come back to this section or other great Scottish white water rivers with our rafts and take you down all the drops in a more suitable craft.

After Loch Faskally we pass Pitlochry and then finish off paddling the lower Tummel which is now an easy grade but much larger in volume. This section of the Tummel is one of the major tributaries of the River Tay which we soon join and descend as far as Dunkeld, a lovely village with ancient buildings and set in a stunning location.

Day 5

The final day of the journey is the classic big water river day, descending the Tay, which has the largest outflow of any river in Britain. In contrast to the early days on mountain streams, this river is wide with good grade 2-3 rapids including the famous Stanley to Thislebrigg white water section, which by now everyone will have the skills to enjoy. This is a long day with the water doing most of the work, and eventually we reach our goal, the take out in Perth, just before the river becomes tidal and enters the Firth of Tay and then the sea.