Great Glen Shuttle Service

Explore Highland is able to offer a craft hire, drop-off, and collection service for all your Great Glen Canoe Trail adventures.

Various  Great Glen shuttle services drop off and uplift locations are for hire clients only;

  • Great Glen Canoe Trail & Loch Ness shuttle services
  • Great Glen emergency shuttle uplift service
  • Another location quotes available by request depending on availability

Ford Tourneo Custom

In 2021 Explore Highland took delivery of a very high spec Ford Transit Tourneo Titanium LWB. Fitted with eight individual leather passenger seats, spacious legroom with dual air condition units, it’s the perfect comfortable shuttle vehicle.

The minibus commercial roof bars can carry two standard open canoes.

Should you need a group larger than eight(8) paddlers moved with hire canoes & kit, we are happy to arrange additional transport services with our local taxi company. Inverness Taxis support our work as and when required with their private hire cars and minibuses.

Open Canoe Trailer

The Explore Highland canoe trailer can carry up to eight(8) standard open canoes. This takes our total carrying capacity to ten(10) canoes when teamed up with the minibus.

Great Glen Canoe Trail Shuttle Service

Explore Highland offers bespoke Great Glen Canoe Trail shuttle services for those taking on this formal Canoe Trail. Based in Inverness we offer a cost-effective shuttle service for open canoe hire clients only.

Great Glen Bespoke Shuttle (Inverness to Fort William)

Most groups we shuttle meet at the Coop, Telford Street, just beside the Canoe Trail car park finish point, Inverness. Here there is space to pack your kit into the hired barrels. Plus if you have forgotten anything, you can pop in for additional food at the store, or if it’s camping equipment, Go Outdoors store is only 200m away. You can also pick up your Canoe Trail facilities key from the Scottish Canals Seaport Marina office which is just by the canal during office hours.

After loading up the Explore Highland minibus and/or trailer, you can park your car(s) in the Great Glen Canoe Trail car park by Muirtown Basin, Inverness where there are designated parking spaces you can use for free during your Great Glen Canoe Trail adventure.

We then shuttle you to your requested drop-off/start point. For the majority of paddler groups this is to the top of Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie, Fort William. This takes just under two hours in summer, but with A82 swing bridge delays it can sometimes take a little longer.

During the shuttle, you will see the trail first hand and able to ask about the route as you are driven through the Great Glen. This is invaluable for those who are less familiar with the area and first time taking on the route.

Great Glen Bespoke Shuttle (Meeting in Fort William)

Should you wish to meet at the Canoe Trail start, Banavie, Fort William, Explore Highland can easily shuttle your canoe(s) and kit to Fort William.

After dropping off your own supplies and equipment at the top of Neptune Staircase, Banavie, any drivers can then move their vehicle down to the main Scottish Canal car park besides the Moorings Hotel where there is plenty of free parking spaces.

Once completed your Great Glen paddling adventure, Explore Highland will meet you at the finish point which is again usually at Canoe Trail car park at Muirtown Basin, Inverness and collect back the canoe(s) and kit hired.

If you need to return to Fort William, there is a two hourly Scottish Citylink bus service from Inverness returning to Fort William for approx £13 per person or for larger groups a private car or minibus can be prebooked with Inverness Taxis (01463 222222)

Inverness to Banavie, Fort William Shuttle Overview

Six-hour shuttle overview:

  • 60 mins – Check and load canoes & hire kit plus drive to Inverness meeting point
  • 5 mins – Meet n greet clients at Coop Telford Street car park
  • 20 mins – Pack kit into hired barrels, and load minibus and/or trailer
  • 5 mins – Clients move cars across the road to the Great Glen Canoe Trail car park
  • 2 hour – Shuttle to Banavie, Fort William
  • 10 mins – Unloading minibus and/or trailer of bags, boats & kit
  • 20 mins – Advice on packing the canoes, moving & handling, using a portage trolley, and canoe sailing kits if required
  • 2 hour – Return drive to Inverness for driver

Great Glen Canoe Trail Shuttle Costs

Below are the costs of the shuttle from Inverness to various locations along the Great Glen Canoe Trail.

  • to Neptune Staircase Canoe Trail pontoon – from £180 no trailer, £220 with trailer
  • to Well of Seven Heads – from £150 no trailer, £170 with trailer
  • to Fort Augustus – from £100 no trailer, £120 with trailer
  • to Foyers – from £100 no trailer, £120 with trailer
  • to Dores Beach – from £60 no trailer, £70 with trailer
  • to Dochgarroch Locks – from £50 no trailer, £60 with trailer
  • Canoe Trail car park Muirtown, Inverness – from £30 no trailer, £ £40 with trailer

* Prices based on shuttles for our hire clients with a maximum capacity of up to eight paddlers.

** At busy times or last minute bookings, single canoe bookings may not be accepted.

All our Great Glen Canoe Trail hire & shuttle clients at the time of confirming the booking are also given links to a number of key resources which include;

  • link to Explore Highlands interactive canoe trail map
  • Scottish Canals Canoe Trail registration/key purchase information
  • directed to the two main Great Glen Canoe Trail Facebook pages
  • your bespoke shuttle service overview schedule details
  • a copy of the Great Glen Canoe Trail guidebook (2nd edition)
  • emergency text/contact number for direct contact with Explore Highland

Emergency Shuttle Uplift

Should the weather turn for the worst or one/all of the group decides not to continue on with their paddling adventure, Explore Highland is able to plan an emergency uplift around the current workload/bookings in the diary.

All hire clients are given an emergency text number to contact should there be a problem. At the earliest opportunity, Explore Highland can offer advice or suggest a suitable location and time an uplift suggested.

This ensures you have peace of mind when taking on your self-guided adventure. All emergency shuttle uplift prices will be quoted at the time of request.

These are based at £35 per hour minibus & driver only, or £45 per hour if a trailer is required.

Booking Your Canoe Hire & Shuttle

You can book your canoe hire & shuttle in tw0 easy steps.

Step 1 – Please complete the provisional canoe hire & shuttle request form below.

    Your Name (required field)

    Email Address (required field)

    UK Mobile No. or Whatsapp no. if outside UK (required field)

    Have your read and understood the canoe hire sections listed above?

    Are you and all group members competent experienced paddlers in the environment/river grade you plan to canoe, and have all participants received canoe safety & rescue skills/training within said river grade/environment?

    Number of 16' tandem open canoes required?

    Number of 16' solo outfitted open canoes required?

    Where would you like the canoe(s) drop off at your starting point?

    Date/Time you require the canoe(s) dropped off?

    Where is your planned finish point where you need the canoe(s) collected from?

    Date/Time you required the canoe(s ) collected?

    Please note any additional comments relating to your hire and shuttle service!

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    Once the form has been received and reviewed, Donald will get back in touch by email to accept or decline the provisional booking request.

    Step 2 – If your provisional booking is accepted, additional information (Hire & Shuttle Booking Form along with your Canoe Kit List) is needed, with completed forms returned within 48 hrs. All forms should be forwarded to Donald at info@explorehighland.com

    Please Note – At an absolute minimum, two weeks notice is required to turn around emails, forms, create booking/invoice and allocate resources around other prebooked coached/guided activities.

    To book your preferred shuttle time and uplift service it is recommended to book 2-3 months in advance. Explore Highland only offer one shuttle at a time and booked on a first come first served basis.

    Responsible Access

    When out paddling under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, you must take responsibility for your own actions on and off the water. Further details can also be found online at www.explorehighland.com/downloads/, but Donald can help by providing you with further local knowledge on responsible access at the time of hire also. This includes parking, access and egress location, wild camping, and campfires etiquette in the Highlands.

    As a responsible business, open canoe hire is only available to those with paddling and safety experience in craft & intended environments. For those who have no experience or looking at venturing into unknown waters, a professional guiding service is available.