Canoe Hire

Explore Highland offer open canoe hire throughout Scotland including the Scottish Highlands for the likes of the Great Glen Canoe Trail, River Spey Descent and Glen Affric Nature Reserve.

Available for hire include;

  • 16′ Hou Prospector canoes fitted with a solo kneeling thwart, central carry yoke, as well as two wooden webbed seats for tandem paddling,
  • 16′ Hou Prospector canoes fitted with two wooden webbed seats, central carry yoke, and an extra thwart to allow you to tie down all your expedition kit,

By providing only the best equipment and support, you can be sure that your hire equipment will really make your canoeing adventure holiday with Explore Highland that wee bit special.

Explore highland includes the following kit FREE OF CHARGE when requested with all canoe hires;

    • Various buoyancy aid sizes available to suit individual paddlers build
    • Various helmet sizes issued for moving/whitewater trips depending on paddlers size
    • 130cm, 140cm and 150cm paddles available issued based on paddlers height
    • Spare canoe paddle issued per craft
    • 1x 60-litre barrel per craft for expedition use
    • 1x 60-litre dry bag/backpack per person for day tripping and expeditions
    • 1x canoe portage trolley and securing strap for Great Glen Canoe Trail use per craft
    • Security Cable & Padlock for when you need to leave your canoe
    • 1x 5-metre lashing cord to secure kit into craft when on moving and open water
    • 1x Throw bag for the group leader use
    • Sponge & bailer per craft
    • Kneeling mats for solo paddlers
    • Tandem downwind sailing kits supplied per canoe
    • Solo canoe sailing kit (suitable for canoes with foot masts fitted)
    • Water carrier per group

Please complete the downloadable Canoe Kit List and submit at the time of booking so your kit is reserved along with your craft.

Also available are the following additional chargeable items;

  • Pair of canoe poles – £10.00
  • 30L additional barrel – £5.00
  • 60L additional barrel – £7.50
  • 70L additional dry bag/backpack – £10.00
  • 35L dry bag/daysack – £ 5.00
  • 10L dry bag – £2.50
  • Clip-In/Additional canvas seat – £10.00
  • Vango Halo semi geo tent (2 person) – £30.00
  • Vango Omega 250 tunnel tent (2 person) – £30.00
  • Vango Adventure tarp – £10.00
  • Foam roll mat – £2.50
  • 3/4 Thermorests – £5.00
  • Stove, gas, windshield & matches set – £10.00
  • Additional large gas canister – £10.00
  • Pans & kettle cooking set for 2-3 people – £10.00
  • Plate, bowl, mug and cutlery set per person – £5.00
  • Eco washing up liquid, sponges & black bags cleaning set – £FOC with cooking/eating sets
  • Toilet kits include a trowel, loo roll & hand sanitiser in a dry bag – £FOC with multiday hire

Additional charges are per item/set for the period of the canoe hire only.

Please complete the downloadable Additional Kit List and submit at the time of booking so your kit is reserved along with your craft.

PLEASE NOTE: Explore Highland does NOT hire out any additional equipment individually without craft hire.

Explore Highland canoe hire charge for 2020 are;

  • One day – £ 55* ( minimum 4x canoe hire)
  • Two days – £110
  • Three days – £130
  • Four days – £160
  • Five days – £180

* Afraid it’s not viable to offer a single canoe hire for less than two-day canoe hire. Please look to join one of the planned half-day, full-day, or book a private guided trip.

For longer hires, please add £30 per day.

When hiring a canoe, similarly to when hiring a car you are to use it responsibly. We do expect some minor wear and tear, however, hirers should ensure that care and attention is given then moving and handling the canoe on land, transferring the canoe from land to water, and vice versa. Launching and landing the canoe generally does mean you have to walk out into shallow water to save dragging the canoe hull up on the beach. Only those skilled enough should look to paddle on moving or whitewater as the consequences of paddling into rocks and even pinning the boat around a rock are much greater. A wrapped canoe is where it has hit a rock and the water pressure wraps or folds the canoe around it. A wrap significantly damages the canoe to the point it is no longer structurally sound to use again and has to be written off!

Similarly to the canoe kit and additional kit list where broken items are charged for to fix or replace if past the point of financial or physical repair, the common issues and chargeable costs associated with misuse of the canoe are listed below.

  • Large scrape – £30
  • Broken thwart/kneeling thwart – £ 50
  • Splitting/cracking of inner layer due to inappropriate trolley use – £100
  • Scrape through the outer layer to white – £80
  • Dint in bow or stern – £80
  • Broken seat – £80
  • Splitting/cracking of inner layer due to inappropriate trolley use – £100
  • Canoe lost – £1000
  • Canoe wrapped/folded – £1000
  • Recovery of a wrapped canoe from a river – £200

At the time of hire Explore Highland and the hirer will check and confirm the condition of the canoe and any issues/damage recorded via note, photo, and/or video.

Explore Highland strongly suggests all hirers are suitable skilled in the use of the craft, in the environment they intend to use it before hiring. The hirer may also look at taking out their own insurance policy the cover themselves for any unforeseen eventualities to cover any additional damage charges that may be levied due to accidental misuse.

You can book your canoe hire in three easy steps.

Step 1 – Check out the online diary for Donald’s availability for hire kit issuing and shuttle service is required. Craft availability is not listed online.

Step 2 – Complete the downloadable Hire & Shuttle Booking Form along with your Canoe Kit List and Additional Kit List if you require any of these items.

Step 3 – Email all required forms to Donald at

Please also be aware as featured on the diary page, Donald is out coaching/guiding and not office based, so please apply with plenty of time to allow enquiries to be processed.

  1. Canoe hire is offered on the basis that hirers are appropriately experienced and qualified in the craft being hired, including safety & rescue of craft, kit, and group, in the environment being paddled. No instruction or safety cover is included with hire.
  2. Canoe Floatation wedges are fitted to the bow & stern of all canoes hired. These should NOT be removed or interfered with by hirer at any time.
  3. Buoyancy aids are issued per canoeist and recommended to be worn at all times when on the water.
  4. £100 refundable security deposit is required per craft at the time of hire. This is taken via card payment and refunded when all kit is returned and check to be in the same condition it was hired out.
  5. Should any kit be lost or damaged during the hire period, the charge for each item is clearly listed in the Canoe Kit List should a repair not be possible. Repair costs will also be chargeable including labour. Should there be damage to the canoe itself, the following charges apply – Canoe damage charges.
  6. A minimum of 14 days notice is required for all hires during peak season (March to October). Please see the online diary for Donald’s availability as longer may be required as frequently away guided multiday adventure holidays with little to no signal.
  7. Drop off/collection service is also available when booked at the same time as your hire.
  8. Hire Agreement terms & conditions form is required to be signed at the time of hire.

For those with limited to no canoeing experience, Donald runs regular half-day and full-day trips plus offers bespoke guided adventure holidays which include coaching, guiding, transport, and safety cover.

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, 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, professional guiding service is available.

Alternatively, Donald can offer a skills/safety training workshop for those wishing to hire canoes without any experience.


Sea Kayak & Paddleboard Hire

Explore Highland does NOT offer solo sea kayak or paddleboard hire currently. Please contact the following local providers who do and may be able to help outfit these adventures.

In Your Element (sea kayak hire) –

Tiso Inverness (paddleboard hire) –