Explore Highland’s mission has always been about providing a quality paddling experience;

  1. introduce more people to the fun and excitement of a quality paddling experience,
  2. encourage people to discover the beauty & wildlife of the Scottish Highlands through paddlesports,
  3. develop paddlers skills and experiences through quality trips, courses & guided adventure holidays,

2018 is going to be no different and it’s already looking to be a very busy season.

Why book with Explore Highland

Sometimes we get asked the question, why book with Explore Highland?  Well….

As a small business, Explore Highland may not have the throughput of a larger centre, but this can be a good thing. “Quality over quantity” as they say has been the main focus for this small business over the last eight years it’s been operating as professional paddlesports service.



Friendly Coach & Guide

When you book with Explore Highland, you know who you are getting as your coach/guide. Donald Macpherson, with over 30 years experience as a sports coach, 20 years as a paddler and qualified as a British Canoeing “Five Star/ Advance leader” in open canoe, sea kayak & whitewater kayak disciplines. As well as that Donald is a triple level three paddlesports coach in the same disciplines, as well as having participated in the British Canoeing Level Five coach training programme before it got scrapped a few years ago. He is also highly experienced as a recreational/touring paddlesports guide, regularly out on the water with groups using sit on top kayaks, cross-over/touring kayaks and stand up paddle boards. When booking with another activity company you may get a newly qualified outdoor instructor who’s forte may not be paddlesports and could lack the skills and experience to deliver an amazing paddling experience.

Quality Locations

Inverness is not only the capital of the Scottish Highlands but central to some of thee best paddling locations in Scotland. Being based on the Caledonian Canal, Inverness and having the Beauly Firth/Moray Firth in our back garden…so to speak. We can access the water in minutes. As for rivers and lochs, we are also spoilt for choice. The River’s Ness, Beauly & Conon are all within 20 minutes drive, and the rivers’s Averon, Oich, Findhorn, Nairn, Spey, Moriston, Feshie are all less than an hour away. For those looking for a more relaxing paddle, the most famous loch in the world is 15 mins away, Aigas gorge, Loch Duntelchaig, Loch Achilty and a few other local lochs are under 30minutes away and Glen Affric is just under an hour. Choice of paddling location is near limitless and can be switched around last minute for the best weather options to ensure a great experience.


Quality Gear

Over the years Donald has build up lasting trade relationships with some of the best manufacturers offering paddlesport kit within the UK. Explore Highland’s two main trade accounts include Pyranha Mouldings Ltd (Pyranha Kayaks, P&H Sea Kayaks, Venture Canoes) & Peak UK kit. As a professional paddlesports provider, Explore Highland is extremely proud of all the kit available to clients which is second to none. All kit is in great condition due to a three year replacement programme in place and that our amazing clients respect the gear and look after it all. 

Touring Loch Ness by kayak

Going the Extra Mile

Where do we start…. coffee/ tea & biscuits provided during trips and in the office, branded, sometimes even colour coordinated kit, neoprene gloves/pogies/mitts offered on bad weather days, to taking along a miniature nessie’s on all Loch Ness paddles to ensure visitors get a great selfie during their visit. 

Last year Explore Highland also ran various competitions, supported a number of local & national charity organisations to help facilitate fundraising, offered over fifty people the opportunity to “come & try paddling” for free in May 2017 and volunteered as a coach at the Scottish Canoe Association Club & Volunteer Conference (April 17) and the English Canoe Symposium (Nov 17). 

The plan for 2018 is already unfolding. The results of our Christmas competition are about to be released with fourteen prize winners, at the end of January Explore Highland is supporting twenty photographers from the Highland Photography Facebook group out to visit Aigas Gorge and Glen Affric over two days, during February local accommodation providers are being invited to come along to one of five planned half day familiarisation paddling trips, March sees the return of the successful “Come & Try” evening paddle opportunities, May Donald has already committed to helping out at the Scottish Sea Kayaking Symposium based out of Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Isle of Skye, and that’s just the stuff that’s already planned in.

Quality over Quantity

And if that’s not enough to show how passionate and enthusiastic Explore Highland is about maintaining and developing all professional paddlesports services offered, you just need to take a look at any of the social media feedback from our lovely clients.

“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care enough and be there.”