Great Glen by SUP – Aug 2021

  • 02/08/2021 - 06/08/2021
    9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Join Donald on this five-day coast-to-coast stand-up paddling adventure, Scotland’s most popular across Scotland 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 for more than twelve years.


Day 1:

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

At Banavie you’ll be given advice on packing & loading up your board. 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.

Day 2:

Starting on Loch Lochy after de camping we’ll introduce the balance skill as well as top tips on stroke efficiency. 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 2 pm closing. 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. Rejoining the canal for five miles we paddle onwards for Fort Augustus. 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.

Day 4:

Waking up on the bank of Loch Ness, everyone operates like a Swiss watch, everyone knows what is needing done to prepare their board and kit for launch. Enjoying the world-famous loch we start off at a relaxed pace to warm up and explore. We paddled on down the Southside of Loch Ness between Fort Augustus to Foyers in the morning. Should the weather be suitable and the group are up for land exploring, we rest the paddling arms by taking a leisurely walk up from Lower Foyers to visit the Falls of Foyers and a quick visit to the village coffee shop.

In the afternoon with hopefully the help of the wind behind us, we press on down the rest of Loch Ness to Dores beach. The last evening is spent wild camping in this area reflecting on the stunning views looking back up the  20 miles of the loch. We are also less than half a mile from Dores Inn, where individually or as a group we can head along the beach to enjoy some food and/or rehydration.

Day 5:

Last day, we launch back onto Loch Ness for the last two miles. Then it’s onto Loch Dochfour which is the smallest of the four lochs measuring only two miles. Arriving at Dochgarroch Locks, it’s time for the final portage before the final leg of the adventure where it’s back onto the canal section all the way into Inverness. Here we complete our final landing and unloading of kit.

EH supplies: 

  • free signed GGCT Guidebook (posted out on receipt of booking deposit)
  • transport shuttle from Inverness to Banavie, Fort William (Covid -19 rules permitting)
  • suitable touring paddleboard, adjustable paddle & buoyancy aid
  • 70 ltr large dry bags & 35 ltr small dry bag
  • various 10 ltr dry bags
  • full body wetsuit (if required)
  • tent, roll mat, cooking equipment & toilet bag (if required)
  • five days of paddleboard guiding/coaching
  • Great Glen/Caledonian Canal history and stories
  • copies of photos taken by your guide during the adventure

What you need to bring:

We recommend bring along;

  • wetsuit/drysuit or your own warm paddling clothing
  • good waterproof trousers & jacket for around camp
  • suitable footwear for paddling and at camp
  • hat, cap & gloves
  • spare clothing & sleeping bag
  • personal toiletries, midgy spray & suntan lotion
  • individual snacks and treats for between meals
  • food and 1ltr water bottles ( minimum 2 suggested)
  • additional spending money – For any souvenirs, additional tea/coffee/treats on the route, and if you’d prefer to have a meal/drink out in Fort Augustus (day 3) and/or at Dores Inn (day 4).

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

Group Size: Min 3/Max 5

Craft: Touring (12’6) standup paddleboards will be used.

Distance: approx. 12-15 miles per day.

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

Meeting Time: 09.30 am

Meet Location: Coop carpark, Telford Street, Inverness. After meeting/packing minibus, car drivers can move their vehicle to the trail free parking over the road. There are toilets within the Coop and additional food/drinks can be bought here. Go Outdoors store is in the next car park so options if anyone has forgotten anything!

If clients prefer,  or if Covid-19 rules restrict shuttle Explore Highland offering a shuttle service all paddlers can meet at Neptune Staircase, Fort William at midday. There is also free car parking 400m from the trail start point at Banavie, Fort William.

Finish Time: Approx. 4-6.00 pm on Day 5 in Inverness

Paddling Experience Req: Stand-up paddling experience is required for this adventure. We would advise this trip is suitable for those who have 5-10 days paddleboarding experience to suitability to take on the open waters of Loch Lochy & Loch Ness. Each day your skills will improve with the different paddling environments this coast-to-coast adventure brings.

Physical Fitness: Although paddling is relatively relaxing, paddlers should be generally fit and possibly do some upper body muscular endurance training to build up to paddle approximately 10-15 miles per day for five days. You should be fit enough to be able to move and handle paddleboards, drybags, and kit on and off the water at the various launch & landing locations. Best practice lifting & moving techniques will be shown.

Age: This adventure is suitable for adults only

COVID-19 Activity Advice: A number of precautions are being put in place to ensure safety for all attending.

  • All participants are attending on the basis they are NOT suffering from any COVID-19 symptoms, have NOT knowingly been in contact with anyone suffering from COVID-19 symptoms within the last 14 days, and are fit, healthy, and happy to participate.
  • Should any booked participant discover they have developed any COVID-19 symptoms, participants are asked to contact Explore Highland by email at the earliest opportunity.
  • We ask all participants to respect social distancing to assist in everyone’s safety.
  • Social distancing will be maintained throughout the adventure whether on land or when out on the water.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers will be available for regular application at the start, tea break, and at the end of the paddling day.
  • Pre & post-cleaning of all boards and kit will be completed to ensure all paddler’s safety.
  • Additional safety briefing to explain options for self-rescue and ensuring ways to ensure no sharing of equipment.
  • Coach/guide will use disposable gloves when issuing clean kit, and when you are finished with it.  Gloves will also be worn if help is required moving and handling the boards on & off the water.
  • Group photos will be taken using social distancing and “group hug photos” encouraged only for the same household paddlers.
  • Should the Scottish/UK government change travel restrictions after deposits/balance has been paid, Explore Highland will honour your booking and offer an alternative date/event to attend once restrictions have been lifted.
  • If paddling shuttle restrictions are still in place at the time of the event, Explore Highland may not be able to offer transport to the start/from the finish of the activity/adventure. If this is the case, you will be given notification at the earliest opportunity, along with other safe Covid-19 transport suggestions.
  • Should there be any more best practice advice issued, we will ensure to add to this list to further promote safe paddling for all.

Price: £475 per person.  £375 per person if using own suitable 12’6 touring board and kit.

Payment: You can book your place online by completing the booking process below. If you wish only a 25% deposit now and the balance six weeks prior to adventure, please email to book your place and receive BACS details. info@explorehighland.com

Terms & Conditions: Terms and conditions can be found online – www.explorehighland.com/terms-conditions/

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