Canoe the Great Glen west to east across Scotland Highlands

Great Glen Canoe Trail

Fort william to Inverness and the Moray Firth. 6 Day Epic Journey through Scotlands Great Glen, Fort William to Inverness. We can also do a shortened highlights 3 day version. Six days are needed for the full journey salt water to salt water.

 Canoe across Scotland, coast to coast through the Great Glen of the highlands including the Great Glen Canoe trail.

The 6 day full trip starts at Fort William, over looked by Ben Nevis and finished sea kayaking on the Moray Firth.

Although this is called the Canoe trail, we highly recommend our excellent touring kayaks for this trip. We also have two person open canoes which are what allot of people use for this trip but we highly recommend our touring kayaks instead. Why? Touring kayaks allow you to paddle much more easily if it is windy something canoes cannot do, that means we can do the trip Fort William to Inverness as described below where as if canoed you may have to swap direction of the journey to suit the weather and the Loch Ness section of the trip is much easier by kayak. Our touring kayaks a super comfortable, easy to get in and out off and a pleasure to paddle with lots of room for gear in them.

The Great Glen Canoe trail has gained popularity since it was officially opened by the Highland Council as Britain’s first Canoe Trail. Our tour which we have been running for many years is much more than the standard canoe trail. Because we have British Canoe Union qualified and experienced guides we are able to paddle the River Ness out of Loch Ness into the highland Capitol Inverness, rather than taking the canal like other folks. Also unique to our trip is the sea kayak on the Moray Firth where the River Ness enters the sea with its famously large population of Dolphins.

So our Great Glen trial links Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness as well as paddling along the Caledonian Canal and descenting the rivers Oich and Ness. Together this natural line of travel from coast to coast through the highlands is called the Great Glen Canoe trail. There is now a recognised Canoe trail along the route and we have access to excellent shower and toilet facilities along the way which is great for a wild camping trip such as this. The showers are not at the campsite as we wild camp but they are along the route.

Wild camping allows us to adapt the days to suit the weather conditions so that you have time to enjoy the scenery along the way rather than being tied to specific finish points each day. We have a growing number of excellent campsite locations for this trip in stunning locations.

Highlights include the Loch Ness to the Sea river trip in canoes or kayaks.

Sea Kayaking in the Moray firth, which is famous for its large population of resident Bottlenose Dolpins.

Fanatastic scenery, highland culture and visit the ancient Urchurahart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness when conditions allow.

There is some of the most stunning highland scenery along the remote east coast of Loch Ness and we paddle below the tree covered cliffs seeing such amnimals like wild goats and large raptors and who knows maybe something really monsterous?

This is a classic coast to coast Great Glen kayak or canoe trail journey. If you have time why not fit in an accent of Ben Nevis or MTBing at the Nevis range mtb trails or even just take the gondola up Aonach Mor to get a great view of the route through the great glen that you will paddle.

For those coming from outside of Scotland, you could easily turn this into a two week holiday by visiting Edinburgh first, then Glencoe, before reaching Fort William to embark on this trip; or start with this trip and see some of the other sights of Scotland afterwards. You’re ideally placed to head to the Isle of Skye or North West Scotland at the end of this trip. May take 3 weeks if you can.

“Having now got sorted at home we must thank you and especially Mark for a wonderful week paddling the Great Glen.  You even organised the weather for us!!

The trip was as you say “full on”, at times a challenge with the wind but also through such magnificent scenery. Mark’s knowledge and guidance is second to none.  Please thank him for his patience and his great sense of humour especially when our canoe did not go quite where we intended.

A big thank you for supplying the food and tents and the stoves were fantastic, the fastest boil time we have come across (must have a word with Father Christmas). ”

Sue and Les Price, June 2012

Typical Itinerary

7 days Great Glen Kayak or Canoe journey.

itinerary | 2-8 participants

Plan to arrive in Fort William the night before your trip begins to enjoy some local beers whilst awaiting the morrows' excitement. Or get here early to get a day in on Ben Nevis or MTB-ing at Aonoch Mor's famous bike trails or even just a gondola ride to a 650m view point. Our mountain guides can lead you the best ways up Ben Nevis and our MTB guides can also take you biking if you'd like as an extension to the 7 day canoe trip, just ask for details.

Day 1

Our friendly and experienced guides will met you in Fort William and take you to the start point on Scotlands' West coast. Paddling along the Caledonia Canal you'll be surrounded by steep sided mountains and 360 degree great views including Ben Nevis. You make camp at a wild and beautiful spot on the banks of loch Lorchy

Day 2

Paddling and maybe even sailing you head north east up loch Lochy and then another section of the great Caledonian Canal to link through to Loch Oich where you'll eventually make camp in another great spot.

Day 3

Continuing the canoe journey along Loch Oich and then you paddle the first river of the journey the River Oich into Loch Ness. The river Oich is the perfect place to learn the skills of river paddling, as it is gentle and is good preparation for the river Ness on day 6. Tonight you'll be camping on the shores of Loch Ness.

Day 4

So it's time to start looking for the monster, as you journey along the wild south east side of Loch Ness. Far from the tourists on the the north side of the loch we explore the bays, take in the stunning scenery as we journey as far as Urquhart Castle. At the cast we stop of explore it and you can even go for the guided tour. Then when the other visitors get back in there cars and coaches you depart by canoe on a real adventure; it is just a short paddle across to the Loch to the south east side for another great camping spot.

Day 5

Today we continue to the north end of Loch Ness before descending the river to Inverness just before it runs into the sea. This is an exciting day and your expert guides will safely led you to down the river, where you'll really develop your canoe journey skills.

Day 6

Today we all go in sea kayaks onto the Moray Firth, famous for its Bottlenose Dolphins and lots of other great wildlife including Harbour Porpoises, Seals, Guillemots and lots of other sea birds. Occasionally we are lucky enough to see Minke Whales.

Day 7

In reality a great journey like this can take longer than 6 days and so we allow the extra day to adapt the itinerary to make sure we can complete the journey, as some times we have to make some days shorter than the above described days. That is the reality of Scottish weather, you normally get a mix of conditions which is one of the great things about the highlands the constantly changing sky's and weather. Why not end your trip with night out in Inverness to take in some of the culture of the highland capital, party to live music in the Hootenannies bar.

If you get to moray Firth in 6 days we can either take you for another days sea kayaking, or a day ascending Ben Nevis and lots of other great activities we use to complete a great holiday. At the end of day 7 we also transport you back to you departure point, could be Inverness if you are going by Plane or Train, could be Fort William. Just let us know if you need picking up form Inverness airport the day before the journey starts as we can do that and transport you to Fort William, if just one or two people we do make a small charge to cover fuel and driver time. If a big group we can build that into the trip costs.

We also occasionally do it going south west if the wind is blowing that way, but the predominant wind direction means most trips do run going north east, both directions are excellent trips. Our guides have the experience to give you the best trip possible based on prevailing weather, its an outdoor adventure that will inspire you to do more.

3 Day Trip Itinerary

3 days is not long enough to do the Great glen coast to coast paddle, but you can still have a great trip starting on Loch Ness, descenting the river Ness into Inverness the highland capitol before sea kayaking where the river meets the sea and lots of Dolphins are often found.

Plan to arrive in Inverness the night before your trip begins to enjoy some local beers whilst awaiting the morrow‚¬„¢s excitement.

Day 1

Our friendly and expert canoe guides meet you in Inverness, then we travel in the Full On Adventure vehicle to the starting point on Loch Ness. You'll learn kayak or canoe skills, start to paddle along Loch Ness and maybe see the Loch Ness Monster. We can guarantee a great kayak or canoe experience amongst the stunning highland surroundings but we can only be sure to see smaller wildlife than Nessy, but who knows?

Day 2

To day you'll be descending the River Ness to Inverness where the river meets the sea. Our guides will show you how to run the easy rapids safely and give you instruction in river kayaking or canoeing. For those wanting an easier experience we can even take you down that section in one of our big inflatable rafts which are good for those who want a drier decent.

Day 3

We hit the sea on the Moray Firth. Normally we head for the place where you are most likely to see and often paddle with the Dolphins. Weather will decide the specific venue for the day. This day we use sea kayaks and this is a great place to try sea kayaking if you've never done it before