Great Glen Canoe Trail (5 days)



Join Donald on this five-day coast to coast canoeing adventure, Scotland's most popular Canoe Trail. Donald was not only the Project Officer that set up the trail, author of the guidebook, but has regularly taken groups across the trail safely over the last ten years plus.

Day 1:

Meeting in Inverness, the group informally meet and ensure everyone has all the kit listed required. Once the minibus is loaded with all personal drybags, our shuttle driver helps transports the group and kit across to the Canoe Trail starting at the top of Neptunes Staircase by Banavie, Fort William.

At Banavie you'll learn to work as a tandem team with your paddling partner. Firstly, learning how to load and pack your kit into the canoe then secondly as a slick paddling duo to become as efficient and effective in paddling the canoe. Coaching top tips and handy hints are given along the Caledonian Canal to ensure distance required are covered in the remaining days. Setting up our wild camping site on the North side of Loch Lochy, you'll learn all about your tents, cooking kit, with plenty time to put your feet up and enjoy the stunning views all around.

Day 2:

Starting on Loch Lochy after de camping we'll introduce the skill of canoe sailing and help continue the learning and fun on the water. Portaging onto Laggan Avenue, we continue paddling for a further half hour before taking a well-deserved stop off at Loch Oich Food Co. for some homebaking and hot drinks. Wild campsite for the evening is only a few miles down the loch.

Day 3:

The fun and learning continue after a short paddle across the last few miles of Loch Oich. Here your guide will further your team skills and safely guide you down the River Oich, a grade one river with two grade two main rapids to navigate. Paddling this river allows you to paddle all the way to Loch Ness, saving three portages. After another well deserved time out visiting Fort Augustus for souvenirs and extra supplies, we continue down Loch Ness for your third and last night wild camping.

Day 4:

Waking up with views over Loch Ness, we paddle passed Foyers and take some time out for those who want to stretch the legs, visit the Falls of Foyers and the coffee shop. After lunch, if the wind conditions are low, we cross over to sail/paddle past Urquhart Castle. The last leg of the day we then head over to Dores Beach. Here there are options to soak up the views looking straight back down the loch, plus the ability to drop into Dores Inn for a social last night drink.

Day 5:

Final day, we quickly cover Loch Dochfour the last and smallest of the four loch. With a fifteen metre portage, we take to the River Ness and enjoy the last 5 miles of the trail on the gentle grade 2 river with a few fun waves and rapids to continue building to this canoeing adventure. Finishing outside the Waterfront Bar & Restuarant, we load up all the kit back into the minibus and trailer and return to the meeting point/office less than a mile drive where everything started only four days earlier.

canoe sailing on the great glen

EH supplies: 

  • tea/coffee at meeting and return to office
  • transport shuttle from Inverness to Banavie, Fort William
  • suitable canoes, paddles & buoyancy aids
  • canoe sailing equipment
  • large dry bags & canoe barrel
  • tent, roll mat, torch, cooking equipment & toilet bag (if required)
  • five days of canoe guiding/coaching
  • Great Glen Canoe Trail, Caledonian Canal, and local history
  • copies of photos taken by your guide during the adventure

What you need to bring:

We recommend bring along;

  • your own warm paddling clothing
  • waterproof trousers & jacket
  • suitable footwear for paddling and camp
  • hat, cap & gloves
  • spare clothing & sleeping bag
  • personal toiletries, midgy spray & suntan lotion
  • food (extras can be bought at Fort Augustus - day 3)

Group Size: Min 4/Max 8

Age: Suitable for adults or accompanied children(14-17 years old)

Duration: Five days paddling/ four nights wild camping by lochside

Experience:  Very little canoeing paddling experience is required for this adventure. Starting on the Caledonian Canal on day 1, there is time to teach the basic forward paddling and steering skills. Each day your skills will improve with the different paddling environments this coast to coast adventure brings.

Payment: Booking online requires full payment at time of purchase. If you wish to spread your payments, you can email to be invoiced. Invoice ask for 25% deposit, with the outstanding balance paid 28 days in advance of booking date. BACS payment is free of charge.

Tandem Special Offer: When booking two adult places, a tandem discount price of £900 for two paddlers is available by selecting "1x Tandem Paddler" price per attendee. Alternatively, email to be invoiced.

U18 & Accompanied Adult: When booking a U18 place, please book and pay for separately online to be able to gain the U18 discounted price.  Alternatively, email to book your places and be invoiced.

Meeting Time: 9.00am - 5/08/19

Meet Location: Explore Highland Office, Clachnaharry Works Lock, Inverness, IV3 8RA. Free parking and toilet available onsite

Finish Time: Approx. 5.00 pm - 9/08/19

Distance: approx. 15 miles per day.

Craft: Open Canoes

Personal Belongings: Camera's, phones, car keys and other personal belongings are taken out on the Canoe Trail at your own risk.

Terms & Conditions: Terms and conditions can be found online -

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.