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 eleven years plus.
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 the distance required is covered in the remaining days. Setting up our wild camping site on the Northside of Loch Lochy, you'll learn all about your tents, cooking kit, with plenty of time to put your feet up and enjoy the stunning views all around.
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 enjoy paddling through what is one of the most scenic and calm canal locations before taking a well-deserved stop off at Loch Oich Food Co. for some home baking and hot drinks (should we reach here before 2pm closing. Wild campsite for the evening is only a few miles down the loch.
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. The group is offered the opportunity to take some well deserved time out visiting Fort Augustus for souvenirs and extra supplies. Then it's your first wild camp on the side of Loch Ness.
Waking up on the bank of Loch Ness, everyone operates like a Swiss watch, everyone knows their job and the group easily launch. Enjoying the world-famous loch should be started off at a relaxed pace. The wildlife and wilderness of the Southside of Loch Ness between Fort Augustus to Foyers is completed in the am. Should the weather be suitable and the group up for it, we rest the paddling arms and exercise the legs by taking a leisurely walk up from Lower Foyers to visit the Falls of Foyers and the village coffee shop. The afternoon with hopefully the help of the wind, we sail tandem and/or group sail all the way down to Dores beach. The last evening is spent wild camping in this area reflecting on the loch with views of 20 miles plus back up the loch and the days paddle. We are also less than half a mile from Dores Inn, where the as individuals or as a group head along the forest walk.
Last day, we launch back onto Loch Ness for its last two miles. Then its onto Loch Dochfour of only 2 miles. Here we line the loaded canoes down the fish shute before taking on the last seven-mile leg of the trip down the River Ness (grade 1/2). Stopping halfway down the river we chill out for the last rural stop, before paddling through the heart of the Highland Capital. Paddling down past the Ness Islands, Eden Court, Inverness Cathedral and Inverness Castle, the trip finishes on a final high just outside the Waterfront Bar on Huntly Street. Here we complete our final take out.
- transport shuttle from Inverness to Banavie, Fort William
- suitable canoes, paddles & buoyancy aids
- canoe sailing equipment
- large dry bags & canoe barrel
- tent, roll mat, 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
- good 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 7
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: Online booking ask for 25% deposit, with the outstanding balance paid 28 days in advance of booking date. An invoice will be forwarded remaining payment details. BACS payment is free of charge.
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 - 6/07/2020
Meet Location: Coop carpark, Telford Street, Inverness. After meeting/packing minibus, car drivers can move their vehicle to the Canoe Trail free parking over the road. There are toilet within the Coop and additional food/drinks can be bought here. Go Outdoors store is on the next car park so options if anyone has forgotten anything!
Finish Time: Approx. 4-6.00 pm - 10/07/2020
Distance: approx. 12-15 miles per day.
Craft: Tandem 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 - www.explorehighland.com/terms-conditions/