Shuttle Service

Explore Highland is able to offer a drop-off and collection service for all your hire boats and kit requirements.

We offer various shuttle services for;

  • Great Glen Canoe Trail & Loch Ness shuttle service
  • River Spey shuttle service
  • Glen Affric, Glen Strathfarrer & Glen Cannich shuttle service
  • Another location quotes available by request
  • Emergency shuttle uplift service

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Explore Highland’s Transporter (Victor the VW)

In 2016 Explore Highland took delivery of a high spec Volkswagen Transporter T32 Shuttle SE. Fitted with eight full-size passenger seats, spacious legroom with dual air condition units its thee perfect and comfortable shuttle vehicle for clients.

The minibus rhino commercial roof rack can carry up to two standard open canoes or four plastic kayaks/sea kayaks.

Explore Highland’s Canoe Trailer

The canoe trailer can carry up to six(6) standard open canoes, twelve(12) sea kayaks, and many many paddleboards. This takes our total carrying capacity of eight(8) canoes or seventeen (17) kayaks when teamed up with the minibus.

Should you need a group larger than eight (8) paddlers moved with craft & kit, we are happy to pull in additional services from a local taxi company, Inverness Taxis who support our work as and when required with cars and minibusses.

Great Glen Canoe Trail Shuttle Service

Explore Highland offers a 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 canoeists, kayakers, and paddleboarders for individuals to large groups.

Great Glen Bespoke Shuttle Service

Most groups we shuttle meet in the Coop car park, Telford Street, just beside the Canoe Trail car park. Here there is space to pack your kit into the hired drybags and barrels. Plus if you have forgotten anything, you can pop in for additional food at the store or if its camping equipment, Go Outdoors outdoor store is only 400m away. You can also pick up your Canoe Trail facilities key from Scottish Canals Seaport Marina office which is just by the canal during office hours.

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

From here we shuttle you to your requested drop off/start point. Majority of which is to the top of Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie, Fort William. This takes just under two hours in summer, but with swing bridges opening, heavy traffic with many tourists around, occasional road works, and other unforeseen delays f, it can sometimes take a little longer.

During the shuttle, we also offer safety advice en route and can stop off briefly at the side of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, and Loch Lochy to highlight various options to offer local information to aid in making your expedition across Scotland much easier and safer.

Inverness to Banavie, Fort William Shuttle

Five-hour shuttle overview:

  • 5 mins – Meet n greet clients at Coop Telford Street car park
  • 20 mins – Pack kit into hired barrels and bags, and load minibus and/or trailer
  • 5 mins – Clients move cars across the road to the 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, moving & handling, portaging 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 Banavie – from £150 no trailer, £200 with trailer
  • to Well of Seven Heads – from £120 no trailer, £160 with trailer
  • to Fort Augustus – from £80 no trailer, £110 with trailer
  • to Foyers – from £90 no trailer, £120 with trailer
  • to Dores Beach – from £45 no trailer, £60 with trailer
  • to Dochgarroch Locks – from £35 no trailer, £50 with trailer

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

** Explore Highland can transport up to two open canoes or four plastic sea kayaks on the minibus roof rack. For additional craft numbers, a trailer is required.  J-bars and additional padding can be supplied for glass/carbon sea kayaks. Please remember to request this at the time of booking.

*** These are allowing for a 50mph trailer/minibus speed limit and loading/unloading time.

All our Great Glen Canoe Trail shuttle clients at the time of confirming their booking are also emailed a number of key resources to assist route planning and offer additional trail information to ensure you make the most from your paddling adventure.

River Spey Shuttle Service

Based out of Inverness, Explore Highland offers a cost-effective River Spey shuttle service for canoe and kayak parties from individual paddlers to large groups.

There are many ways to offer River Spey shuttle services. Some clients wish to meet and return to our Inverness base. Others prefer to meet at either the launch point or finish point. All are workable with sufficient prior booking.

Depending on your exact River Spey plan, Explore Highland can drop off/collect from various set locations on the River Spey including Newtonmore, Kingussie, Loch Inch/Kincraig, Aviemore, Boat of Garten, Grantown on Spey, Aberlour, Fochabers, and Spey Bay.

River Spey Shuttle Costs

Below are the costs of the shuttle options from Inverness (EH Base) to various locations along the River Spey.

  • to Aviemore – from £75 no trailer, £95 with trailer
  • to Kincraig – from £80 no trailer, £100 with trailer
  • to Kingussie – from £90 no trailer, £110 with trailer
  • to Newtonmore – from £100 no trailer, £120 with trailer
  • to Spey Bay – from £110 no trailer, £130 with trailer
  • to Spey Bay and onto Grantown on Spey – from £135 no trailer, £155 with trailer
  • to Spey Bay and onto Aviemore – from £145 no trailer, £165 with trailer
  • to Spey Bay and onto Kincraig – from £150 no trailer, £170 with trailer
  • to Spey bay and onto Kingussie – from £160 no trailer, £180 with trailer
  • to Spey Bay and onto Newtonmore – from £165 no trailer, £185 with trailer

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

** Explore Highland can transport up to two open canoes or four plastic kayaks on the minibus roof rack. For additional craft numbers, a trailer is required. 

*** These prices are allowing for 50mph towing a trailer/minibus speed limit, and loading/unloading time.

All our River Spey shuttle clients at the time of confirming their booking are also emailed a number of key resources to assist route planning and offer additional river information to ensure you make the most from your paddling adventure.

Three Glen’s Shuttle Service

Explore Highland offers a shuttle & hire services from Inverness to River Beauly and the three Glen’s – Affric, Strathfarrar & Cannich.

Glen Affric information Panel

FCS Information panel

Groups normally meet in Inverness, where you can pack your kit into your hired drybags and/or barrels.

After loading up our minibus we can then transport your hire boats & equipment to Aigas, Struy, Cannich, Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, Loch Affric, Loch Monar or Loch Mullardoch.

We are able to drop off/collect from various locations on the River Beauly and Three Glens.

River BeaulyDistance A-BShuttle Time (approx)Shuttle Charge
Aigas Resevoir12.6 miles20 mins drive + load/unload time
(70 mins allocated)
£35 - without trailer
£45 - with trailer
Maude Bridge,
by Struy
19 miles30 mins drive + load/unload time
(90 mins allocated)
£45 - without trailer
£55 - with trailer
Power Station,
by Cannich
29 miles45 mins drive + load/unload time
(2 hrs allocated)
£60 - without trailer
£70 - with trailer
Glen AffricDistance A-BShuttle Time (approx)Shuttle Charge
Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin
(Dam access point)
30.7 miles55 mins drive +
load/unload time
(2.5 hrs allocated)
£75 - without trailer
£90 - with trailer
Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin
(mid access point)
33 miles60 mins drive +
load/unload time
(2.5 hrs allocated)
£80 - without trailer
£95 - with trailer
Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin
(top access point)
36.1 miles70 mins drive +
load/unload time
(3 hrs allocated)
£85 - without trailer
£100 - with trailer
Loch Affric
(top car park)
36.5 miles70 mins drive +
load/unload time
(3 hrs allocated)
£85 - without trailer
£100 - with trailer

Kayaking in Glen Affric

Glen StrathfarrarDistance A-BShuttle Time (approx)Shuttle Charge
Loch Monar Dam33.3 miles65 mins drive +
load/unload time
(3 hrs allocated)
£85 - without trailer
£100 - with trailer
Glen CannichDistance A-BShuttle Time (approx)Shuttle Charge
Loch Mullardoch Dam34.7 miles70 mins drive +
load/unload time
(3 hrs allocated)
£85 - without trailer
£100 - with trailer

These are approximate timings allowing for 50mph trailer/minibus speed limit and loading/unloading. Prices based on weekday shuttles for our hire clients. Minibus quoted for a maximum of eight passengers.

All River Beauly and Three Glen hire & shuttle clients are emailed at the time of booking a number of key safety documents (pdf format) to assist route planning prior to and during your adventure.

These include;

  • SCA Paddlers Access Code (including consideration to fishermen)
  • Scottish Outdoor Access Code information
  • River Beauly Information sheet
  • Glen Affric Information sheet

Additional Support

Explore Highland strongly suggest the group (especially group leader) is familiar with area prior to adventure and looks into various weather/wind options and evacuation planning. 

Should you require, we can assist groups of paddlers traveling up to the Highlands and Moray by public transport with the following;

  • Transport from local hotel or B&B collection
  • Transport to the local superstore for food supplies
  • Transport to the local outdoor store for extra clothing or stove fuel

PLEASE NOTE: These additional support services need to be requested at the time of booking the shuttle service so appropriate time for drive & minibus is allocated.

Info being updated for Summer 2020

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, Donald 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, a suitable place and time to uplift can be planned.

This is to ensure you have peace of mind when taking on a self-guided adventure. All prices will be quoted at the time of request and payable at the time of shuttle but based on £35 per hour minibus & driver only, or £45 per hour if a trailer is required.

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 info@explorehighland.com

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.
  5. 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.
  6. Drop off/collection service is also available when booked at the same time as your hire.
  7. Hire Agreement terms & conditions form is required to be signed at the time of hire.

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, professional guiding service is available.

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