Paddle the Great Glen across the Scottish highlands

Great Glen Kayak Journey

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. But 6 are needed for the full journey salt water to salt water.

Kayak 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.

This trip 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.

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. It is possible to extend the trip by a day or two to add a day sea kayaking on the Moray Firth with its famously large population of Dolphins.

We have key controlled access to clean showers and toilets along the Great Glen Canoe trail and then we Wild Camp to a ensure the best locations. Wild camping along the the Great Glen Canoe trail ensures that we can adpat the days to suit the conditions and your aspirations to see the best scenery, experience the wildlife such as wild goats and large raptors and who knows maybe something more Monsterous !?!

Highlights include the River Trips between the Lochs, The Wild side of Loch Ness, Camping along the way and Loch Ness to the heart of Inverness in canoes or kayaks.

Fantastic scenery, highland culture and visit the ancient Urquhart Castle (weather allowing) and the dramatic steap forested wild east shores of Loch Ness.

This is a classic coast to coast kayak or canoe journey following the canoe trail. 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. Or add the Sea kayaking trip on the Moray Firth but bear in mind you might like a day off after the 6 days of paddling first.

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. Maybe take 3 weeks if you can.

Typical Itinerary

6 days Great Glen Kayak or Canoe journey.

itinerary | 2-8 participants

Plan to arrive in Aviemore or 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 6 day canoe trip, just ask for details.

Day 1

Our friendly and experienced guides will met you in Aviemore or 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

Day 6

Today we 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.

Possible extension day 7 ( but ideally taking a day off in Inverness first is recommended.)

We 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.

The reality of Scottish weather is that you normally get a mix of conditions which is one of the great things about the highlands the constantly changing sky's and weather. So we adapt the itinerary to suit the conditions, with shorter days of paddling if progress is made harder by head winds and we are flexible in our camping locations to suit that. Aspects of the journey just as the Urquhart castle can on occasions need to be removed if for example it is too dangerous to paddle across the loch from east side to west and so we stick to the most spectacular side, the west all the way instead. If we adapt the program like that, we can always take you there at the end of the trip instead, so the key to Scotland is to stay flexible and you'll have a great trip.  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.

Other extensions include a day ascending Ben Nevis and lots of other great activities we use to complete a great holiday. At the end of day 6 we also transport you back to you departure point, could be Inverness if you are going by Plane or Train, could be Fort William or back with the guides to Aviemore where we are based. You are able to park your cars at our base during your trip. 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 (or Aviemore or Fort William) to enjoy some local beers whilst awaiting the morrows' excitement.

Day 1

Our friendly and expert canoe guides meet you in Inverness, Aviemore or Fort William 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. Some times it isn't suitable weather for the sea so we can do another loch or river day trip.