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Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

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Price from: £795

Next trip: 9th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

13 review(s)
  • Journey through a stunning network of remote lochs that lie within the magnificent amphitheatre of mountains in Inverpolly
  • Camp on isolated beaches and islands with amazing panoramic views of Scotland’s most iconic peaks
  • Enjoy days exploring the high peaks on foot as well as paddling through Scotland’s most beautiful wilderness region

 

Red Graded Open Canoeing Holidays 7-9

Our Red grade canoeing trips are also suitable for those with no paddling experience. However, you will need a good level of fitness. You can expect up to 7 hours of paddling each day. These trips also may include some long days hill walking over rough ground, portages and consecutive nights camping in some truly wild places.

Before joining this trip, the questions you should be asking yourself are:

Are you happy paddling up to 7 hours each day?
Are you used to some long days hill-walking?
Do you enjoy truly wild camping?

On our Open Canoeing expeditions, we camp in spectacular locations near the waterway on which we have travelled. In order to minimise our impact, you will be expected to share a tent with another expedition member of the same sex. If you really would prefer to have a tent of your own, we can, of course, arrange this although it may involve extra load-carrying – please let us know in advance.

Meals and Cooking duties!
While the leader will co-ordinate and undertake as much of the cooking as possible on the trip, everyone is expected to help out as this ensures the best meals in the shortest possible time after what are often long days in the mountains.

Fine food is essential to all our trips and expeditions are no different. Using Open Canoes, we are less constrained by weight and therefore have the opportunity to carry food which we would be unable to take on a walking expedition. The scope for imaginative and original meals is therefore enhanced and we will prepare these over our base-camp style dual burner stove and often over an open fire.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide in the centre of Inverness Railway Station on Day 1 at 10:30. Your guide will be waiting there with a canoe paddle in his/her hand so should be instantly recognisable! For full details on how to get to Inverness, please see our website: Travel to Scotland.

 

100% Unedited Reviews

Our clients receive a feedback survey automatically after finishing their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once it's submitted the review is automatically published on our website just as soon as our database updates. We read all our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience and if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 11

4 star 1

3 star 0

2 star 1

1 star 0

by Peter Dixon 05/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I've just re-read the dossier and can't see anything significant I'd change.

A suggestion ... personally I found gaiters were useful as we spent quite a lot of time in over the ankles ... I don't think these aren't mentioned.
Trip Comments
The whole trip was a high point !. The bits I will hold longest in my memory were those times on the loch's when the views were clear.
Accommodation and Food
I've just re-read the dossier and can't see anything significant I'd change.

A suggestion ... personally I found gaiters were useful as we spent quite a lot of time in over the ankles ... I don't think these aren't mentioned.
Your Guide
Kirk and Laura ... in terms of providing an excellent experience .. you hit the sweet spot !.
Really appreciated your (quiet) flexibility in attending to the different aspirations and levels of fitness.
A suggestion for future trips ... now I look back on the photos it strikes me that a late evening excursion onto the lochs would have had the potential for some even more spectacular scenery.
The Bottom Line
An extraordinarlily well organised and managed experience in a stunning environment. Well prepared, well executed, and ably facilitated by two wise and informative guides.

by Bjarke Mikkelsen 04/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
Great experience of Scotland - the dynamic approach by Kirk and Laura whereby we could arrange the trip according to individual preferences on a daily basis was perfect

by Elspeth Dixon 03/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Communication and information was excellent. Maybe check packing list: no need for seats as these are provided. Midge headnets might be an idea. I know these trips are flexible so you can't be rigid in your description in the dossier however clients use this to judge whether the holiday is right for them. I think 6 hours/day paddling was mentioned: although it is possible the group might have chosen to spend that long in the boats, in fact I think 3 hours was the max. The trip is graded as 'challenging' and the reasons for this are clear but could I suggest that you refer to climbing/scrambling/possibility of exposed ridgewalks in your description as, for me anyway, this was the most challenging aspect although there was flexibility. Please note, we were delighted with all the activities -it was one of the best holidays we've ever had- but maybe slightly editing the description so people are clear what they are signing up for.
Trip Comments
A superb trip! We loved everything about it but especially the wilderness camping experience.
Accommodation and Food
Communication and information was excellent. Maybe check packing list: no need for seats as these are provided. Midge headnets might be an idea. I know these trips are flexible so you can't be rigid in your description in the dossier however clients use this to judge whether the holiday is right for them. I think 6 hours/day paddling was mentioned: although it is possible the group might have chosen to spend that long in the boats, in fact I think 3 hours was the max. The trip is graded as 'challenging' and the reasons for this are clear but could I suggest that you refer to climbing/scrambling/possibility of exposed ridgewalks in your description as, for me anyway, this was the most challenging aspect although there was flexibility. Please note, we were delighted with all the activities -it was one of the best holidays we've ever had- but maybe slightly editing the description so people are clear what they are signing up for.
Your Guide
Great guides, very knowledgeable and keen to share their enthusiasm. Very organised, efficient, friendly and patient and we felt very safe in their hands.
The Bottom Line
One of the best trips we've ever done. For me, perhaps the most inspirational moment was the shared sense of awe as we paddled across Loch Sionascaig with the amphitheatre of mountains around us on a brilliant day. Thank you Kirk, Laura and all the team.

by Ann Mills 02/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Paperwork and kit list really helpful. It may have been useful to give an indication of barrel size, I was quite frugal on clothes I took!
Trip Comments
Kirk and Laura were excellent and adapted to the groups preferences! Camping on the island was a particular high and I really enjoyed the portage!
Accommodation and Food
Paperwork and kit list really helpful. It may have been useful to give an indication of barrel size, I was quite frugal on clothes I took!
Your Guide
Kirk and Laura were brilliant. They were great fun and really made an effort to circulate amongst the clients and were instrumental to how the group gelled. Their knowledge of the flora and fauna, geology and local area was second to none.
The Bottom Line
This is definitely the best holiday I have had in years, we do a lot of wild camping and walking but the introduction of canoeing into the mix made this really special.

by John Mills 02/06/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Jon Herring 02/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Best day was Wednesday when it started out windy but we were able to get across to Cul Mor and the clouds disappeared as we got to the summit giving spectacular views over our whole route. Thursday felt a bit underused – I’m probably in the minority but I’d have preferred to spend more time outside rather than getting to Ullapool mid-afternoon. In retrospect I’d have liked more time to practice my paddling technique but I can’t complain as I did opt to go climbing when there was a choice.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Both Kirk and Laura were exceptional – knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic. I particularly appreciated Kirk’s approach, when it wasn’t clear whether we would be able to paddle across to Cul Mor, of going to see what it was like and either getting across or just getting a taste of the conditions and returning to do something else.
The Bottom Line

by Barb Steadman 10/10/2013

3Pre-Trip Service

3Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

3Your Guide

2The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Guides were not encouraging and one guide was always particularly pleased that the group did a hike in record time. I was a little slower and got left behind without any attempt to help me get to the top of the mountains. The most important goal was - speed.
The Bottom Line

by Elizabeth Abbott 19/08/2013

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Equipment list could probably be shortened and perhaps discuss it with Beyond Adventure a bit more. I'm not sure they were so keen on my choice of socks and sandals over the rubber boots, although I felt they were appropriate. They'd never heard of the IKEA type bag either.
The midge nets need to actually be midge nets - mosquito nets aren't the same.
A 10cm elastic bandage is an essential first aid kit item - not crepe bandages. Fantastic amounts of information though in general. Well done.
Trip Comments
The scenery is just amazing and I truly felt immersed in a Scottish experience - especially with the local guides and their stories and knowledge.
The midges were my low point. I think more information regarding not exposing too much skin in the middle of the night might have been useful. Otherwise I think if I'd been more aware of how covered up to be and worn my net more often I wouldn't have had so many bites. The itching is wearing off now.
Accommodation and Food
Equipment list could probably be shortened and perhaps discuss it with Beyond Adventure a bit more. I'm not sure they were so keen on my choice of socks and sandals over the rubber boots, although I felt they were appropriate. They'd never heard of the IKEA type bag either.
The midge nets need to actually be midge nets - mosquito nets aren't the same.
A 10cm elastic bandage is an essential first aid kit item - not crepe bandages. Fantastic amounts of information though in general. Well done.
Your Guide
Thoroughly enjoyed their sense of humour and gentle motivation. Great to have locals who love the area.
Learned a lot about canoeing which was appreciated and felt safe and secure.
Tents were fabulous.
The Bottom Line
Have already been blabbing about you on my facebook page.
Truly worth every cent.

by Bruce Bowen 19/08/2013

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The very helpful and prompt service provide made it easier for us to decide on which Wilderness Scotland trip suited us, even though we lived on the other side of the world. Note that some of the gear that we were recommended to bring was not needed for the the canoeing trip - e.g. a IKEA bag, and both camp seats and hand wash (these later two were provided by the guides).
Trip Comments
The NW Highlands canoe trip was really good - great scenery and a variety of challenging activities each day. Low point were the midges (for short periods of time) .
Accommodation and Food
The very helpful and prompt service provide made it easier for us to decide on which Wilderness Scotland trip suited us, even though we lived on the other side of the world. Note that some of the gear that we were recommended to bring was not needed for the the canoeing trip - e.g. a IKEA bag, and both camp seats and hand wash (these later two were provided by the guides).
Your Guide
Both guides were very friendly and knowledgeable about the NW Highlands area. They also provided good advice on how to improve canoeing techniques.
The Bottom Line
Very enjoyable holiday - great to do a variety of physical outdoor activities each day with a very friendly and supportive group of people - the great scenery of the NW Highlands remains the main inspirational highlight of the trip.

by Viktoria Sevlagina 18/08/2013

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I was well informed of arrangements, also an email with the list of essentials for the trip was very helpful. Many thanks
Trip Comments
the trip was well organised, the campsites were amazing and well picked. Guides were very friendly. Do not have any criticism about the trip.
Accommodation and Food
I was well informed of arrangements, also an email with the list of essentials for the trip was very helpful. Many thanks
Your Guide
Very friendly, hardworking and professional.
The Bottom Line
Highly addictive, once you experienced Scotland and it's beauty you will want only more. Great opportunity to meet like minded people and make new friends.

Prices and Departures

40 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
9th May - 15th May 2015
£795
Trip Full
1st Aug - 7th Aug 2015
£795
Places available
19th Sep - 25th Sep 2015
£795
2 place(s) left

Trip Details

This incredible trip journeys through one of the most pristine wilderness areas of Scotland.

Inverpolly in the North West Highlands comprises of undulating heather moorland, peat bogs and lochs.

Pockets of birch, hazel and rowan woodland cover the low-lying areas while the skyline is dominated by towering Torridonian Sandstone peaks.

Our journey takes us through a system of glacial lochs, allowing us to climb some of the peaks by remote and rarely-trodden routes. At night, we camp on small islands in sandy coves, basking in the glorious views all around and sit by our small campfire as the sun drops behind the mountains.

This is genuinely wild land – golden eagle country – and journeying by canoe allows us to travel quietly and observe the rich and varied wildlife of the region. This is an unforgettable wilderness adventure in one of Scotland’s most beautiful and remote areas.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Inverness to NW Highlands; Canoe Expedition begins

Our journey to the North West Highlands passes the unmistakable peaks of Stac Pollaidh, Suilven, Ben Mor Coigach, Cul Mor and Cul Beag, we drive to Elphin where the open canoe expedition begins. Before setting off down Loch Veyatie for a paddle down the loch to our first overnight camp, we discuss safety procedures and basic open canoe skills.

Day 2 – Canoeing in Fionn Loch and ascent of Suilven

After breakfast, we paddle our open canoes westwards along Fionn Loch, where we have the opportunity to ascend the mighty Suilven by a route that very few people pass. Our descent takes us back across the moor and the myriad of lochans that dot the landscape to our campsite beside Fionn Loch.

Day 3 – Canoeing Fionn Loch to Loch Sionascaig

Portaging over to the beautiful Loch Sionascaig, we head for our wilderness campsite on a tiny island with phenomenal panoramic views of the surrounding mountains – arguably the most stunning camping location in Scotland!

Day 4 – Canoeing in Loch Sionascaig and ascent of Cul Mor

Canoeing to a secluded beach in Loch Sionascaig, we begin our ascent through the lower flanks of birch woods up to the summit of Cul Mor. This is red deer country and it is not uncommon to watch these majestic animals traverse the high corries.

Day 5 – Canoeing on Loch Sionascaig and ascent of Cul Beag

We climb Cul Beag via a circular route to witness incomparable views of Coigach and Stac Pollaidh. We may be lucky to see golden eagles coast the skies between the mountain tops of Inverpolly. Looking down at our canoes far below, we savour the views across this wilderness.

Day 6 – Loch Sionascaig to Loch Buine Moire

We canoe up Loch Sionascaig for a short portage into Loch Buine Moire. After a short paddle, we rejoin the vehicle and head to Ullapool for a well-deserved shower and then dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7 – Ullapool to Inverness

Following breakfast we load the vehicle and return to Inverness.

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Prices and Departures

40 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
9th May - 15th May 2015
£795
Trip Full
1st Aug - 7th Aug 2015
£795
Places available
19th Sep - 25th Sep 2015
£795
2 place(s) left

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

100% Unedited Reviews
An extraordinarlily well organised and managed experience in a stunning environment. Well prepared, well executed, and ably facilitated by two wise and informative guides.

Peter Dixon
05/06/2014

5

Great experience of Scotland - the dynamic approach by Kirk and Laura whereby we could arrange the trip according to individual preferences on a daily basis was perfect

Bjarke Mikkelsen
04/06/2014

5

Rated 4.7 out of 5 based on 13 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 11

4 star 1

3 star 0

2 star 1

1 star 0

Read All Trip Reviews