THE GREAT GLEN - 5 DAY EXPEDITION
If you are looking for a challenge and excitement on the water, this adventure is ideal for you. This trip involves epic paddles and wild camping.
If you are looking for a true adventure challenge our Cross Scotland canoe/kayak trip is a monster! This incredible adventure is ideal for you. This trip involves epic open water paddles and cosy wild camping spots every night. You’ll spend five days in Scotland’s Great Glen, which is an incredible 62 miles from the West to East (or E-W depending on the wind) across Scotland!
The Great Glen is over 200 million years old! Marvel at prehistoric scenery and magical castles along the way… this canoe trip is a truly unique experience. At night you’ll camp under the stars, enjoy Scottish nature at its best, and you can keep an eye out for Her Highness Nessie too…
How adventurous do you want to be? Our guides choose the best pace for you and there are options to Canoe Tandem or Kayak SOLO, stay on flat water or tackle two mighty rivers* if you fancy a bit of white-water… *Optional
We provide all the safety equipment and guiding required and attempt to keep you upright throughout your trip. You’ll need your determination, stamina and sense of adventure.
With stunning scenery, myths and legends and lots of fresh Highland air, this is an expedition not to be missed
If Carlsberg did canoe trips…
Day 1 – Meet, greet & travel to start:
We meet at 09:00 AM in Inverness Town centre. This allows you to arrive the day before and Enjoy the Highland hospitality if you wish, this makes it easy for you to travel to the area by public transport and to choose from a wide range of easily accessible accommodation options the night before we depart. We can recommend or book something for you if you call us for a quote.
Get Plenty of rest and be fresh to go!
Your amazing Guide will then whisk you away to start your dream journey! Our minibus takes you toward Fort William at the start of your trip (around 2 hours). This Journey is incredible too! You’ll soon see Loch Ness, watch Castles fly by and pass over some of the canals and rivers you’ll be paddling during your Great Glen canoe adventure.
Day 1 Paddle – Fort William to Gairlochy (10km)
With help from your guide, we’ll carefully pack the canoes and have a practice paddle in the canal basin. Once everyone is happy with steering a fully laden canoe we will paddle around 11km to Gairlochy and the start of Loch Lochy to find a remote campsite to enjoy our first night well away from the bustle of Fort William.
Day 2 – Gairlochy to Loch Oich (25km)
Much of the day is spent paddling the length of Loch Lochy (who came up with that name!). Hopefully the prevailing south-westerly wind is blowing and we can rig an improvised sail to speed us along. At the head of the Loch we pass through Laggan Locks then paddle a two-mile section of canal which takes us into the magical Loch Oich. Here we will change down a gear towards the end of the day and take our time exploring the lovely wooded bays of the Loch while we look for a secluded wild camping spot.
Day 3 – Loch Oich to Alltsigh (24km)
This is the day that the group get to experience some faster-moving white-water. Rather than follow the Caledonian Canal we can take the River Oich route instead*, offering a very different experience to the Lochs and canals that you will have experienced so far. With some gentle meanders and some fast-moving rapids, we’ll have you grinning ear-to-ear by the end. We then briefly touch base with civilisation again as we reach the lovely little tourist-friendly village of Fort Augustus. Here we stop for a couple of hours while your guide re-stocks the food supplies and everyone gets a chance to buy some snacks, take some photos, watch the world go by or grab a shower and visit a café/pub. On leaving the village we face the daunting prospect of tackling the 36km of Loch Ness. A monster loch in more ways than one. Part way up Loch Ness we will look for somewhere to camp for the night on the quiet Southern shore and maybe cook our dinner on the beach while Nessie spotting.
*There is an option to follow the canal route instead if the group prefers not to opt for the River Oich.
Day 4 – Alltsigh to Dores (22km)
A full day on Loch Ness today. It can get pretty tough going if there is a strong wind blowing – due to the sheer size of the loch it is possible (though rare) to get up to 2 metre waves forming. Good job you are in expert hands then! In normal conditions this is a lovely leisurely paddle and we may have time to land at the dramatic Urqhuart Castle for photo opportunities, and a nosey round the excellent Historic Scotland visitor centre. In the evening we will plan to reach the head of the loch and find a campsite nearby. Looking back down the full length of Loch Ness, stunning sunsets are common, as are late nights in the Dores Inn to celebrate our last night together and take in the friendships made.
Day 5 – Dores to Inverness (10km)
The hustle and bustle of the city looms ever closer this morning as we leave Loch Ness behind, travel through the picturesque little Loch Dochfour, and finish with a flourish. NOW rather than take the Caledonian Canal route back into town, You get the option to slide over the River Ness weir and make our way towards Inverness by river*. You’ll paddle through some small rapids as you approach the Highland Capital, passing the beautiful Ness Islands before arriving at your destination point, around lunchtime.
*There is an option to follow the canal route instead if the group prefers not to opt for the River Ness.
CONGRATULATIONS You’ve done it!
To Finish –
It usually takes a wee while to unpack the canoes and to sort out the kit. Once this is done, we will transport you into the town centre where we will leave you with a big bag of smoky, sweaty clothes and an even bigger bag of awesome memories.
- Qualified friendly Guides
- Tents, cutlery, cups etc But NOT Sleeping Bags; These can be Rented @£25 a trip
- Activity equipment: Canoes, buoyancy aids, paddles and safety kit.
- Dry storage for all the kit and your clothing
- Travel insurance
- Battery packs to recharge your electronics
- Waterproofing for your electronic gadgets
- Transport to Inverness, Scotland
- Extra Snacks and drinks; Please stock up on your favourites.
- Please understand we will not accept anyone drunk or hungover (Until we’ve finished the trip at least)!
- Wild & Semi Wild Camping
Maximum of 7 people. Bigger groups can be arranged, just click the group booking option.
We try to minimise impact on our beautiful but fragile environment and use Leave No Trace Principles.
- Some sturdy trainers or water sports boots. Nothing too floppy.
- Lots of warm layers, including hats and gloves. You will be active but static when camping.
- Waterproof top & trousers
- Small camping luxuries like a pack of cards (they have to fit in a tiny space)
- Midge repellent
- Midge Net
- Sleeping Bag & Mat
- You can get our full trip packing list by clicking on the link below:
The weather is highly changeable in the Highlands so we advise you to pack everything listed on the kit list – you could be paddling in a t-shirt 1 minute and sitting in six inches of water an hour later needing a full fleece and waterproofs on. Your guide will let you know pre-departure if the weather conditions are particularly extreme, you should expect a mix of sun, rain and wind.
You will be travelling with all the food and equipment required for the 5 days.
Meals are substantial and healthy (apart from the odd optional treat ).
For dietary requirements: Please get in touch to ask, or fill them in on the dietary and medical forms we send you out post booking.
It’s classed as Warming Up. The Great Glen is a full body activity due to paddling but also the “portaging” (carrying of canoes) around the Canal locks. We provided trolleys to assist you but it’s still a bit physical carrying things backwards and forwards. You don’t need to have canoed before but it does help if you play sport or are active at least a few times a month.
Get started with a number of options to help you get the perfect adventure