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Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

  • 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. Our tents are single tents unless you are travelling with a partner or in a group and would like a two/three man tent to share. We also carry a base camp tent, which means that we can all gather together for dinner or a hot drink if the weather is inclement.

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.

 

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 21

4 star 3

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Karl Rundle 06/10/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Had a few problems getting through on the phone but otherwise great
Trip Comments
The trip exceeded my expectations. The location was stunning, the weather was generally kind to us, the guides were awesome and we had a great group of fellow travellers.
Accommodation and Food
We took our own tent so we didn't have any issues with space or over-complicated frames that others had. The food prepared and provided by Kirk and Will was awesome. 10 out of 10 for food.
Your Guide
Kirk and Will are the best! Extremely helpful, knowledgeable, informative and entertaining. They made a great trip perfect.
The Bottom Line
Just a really great trip!

by Chris Fletcher 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The website was really easy to use and I was able to access several reviews and materials for each trip I was thinking about.
Trip Comments
My canoeing trip was absolutely awesome. Kirk and Will (our guides) were perfect in every way.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Anne Etherington 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
A good team who could always find out the answers to questions.
Trip Comments
Relaxed and stress free trip. A excellent all round trip that certainly exceeded my expectations.
Camping in such beautiful places that few people would have the chance to experience.
Accommodation and Food
The food was always very good, well prepared and presented. A varied and good balanced diet every day.
Amazing when there was never a shop in sight!!
Camping was in great locations.
Your Guide
Kirk and Will were both extremely professional, knowledgeable and great fun to be with on this trip.
Nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble for them.
The Bottom Line
A well organised and memorable trip.

by Sophie Calme 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The service was really personalized and I would receive wise answers to any of my questions. I was actually glad to stop by the office in Aviemore after the trip, even if I did not see any of the wonderful women who attended me during the past 10 months. i was sometimes receiving several answers to the same question, so it might not be very efficient from the point of view of WS, but on my side I was delighted to have different perspectives on the same question.
Trip Comments
Our guides, Kirk and Will, were truly outstanding. They were very knowledgeable, but also highly enjoyable and laid back. They would always consult us regarding what we wanted to do, proposing several options, and adapting them to the weather conditions. They would also complement each other quite fantastically, with Kirk more on the technical side and Will on the natural history side. My companions were super nice and interesting, but the guides made my trip.
Accommodation and Food
Food was really good for a camping trip!!! It was wonderful to have home baked desserts, and was rather astonishing for a trip not organized among friends (it made it feel that way). I was only worried by the quantity of garbage we generated. Of course we left no print, but our food barrels, despite being much lighter, were still full of wraps.
Your Guide
See my first comment on the trip in general. The guides were awesome!
The Bottom Line
It was above my expectations! I was a bit reluctant to be part of an organized trip as I usually don't like to be organized. But the trip was superbly organized and wonderfully guided, making it a fantastic experience.

by Jon Hardes 30/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Excellent! Friendly and timely.
Trip Comments
It really was the trip of a lifetime for me. The northwest Highlands are incredible!!! The guides were extremely knowledgeable and a real pleasure to be around. I would happily do this trip again tomorrow.

All my best - Jon
Accommodation and Food
We had exceptional campsites and the guides did a superb job of feeding us.
Your Guide
Kirk Watson and Will Copestake are AWESOME! I would happily trek around with them again.
The Bottom Line
I absolutely loved this trip. The locations were amazing and the guides were exceptional. It exceeded my high expectations. I want to come back!!!

by Francesco Fanti 17/08/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

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

by Cecilia Lazzaroni 12/08/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
We had a couple of incovenients that could be easily be avoided with a little more information (in the equipment list, wellies should be marked as compulsory, as an anti-mosquitoes/ midges hat, for a canoeing trip in the highlands!) . But all the rest went better than we imagined. Beautiful places, good food, kind guide.
Accommodation and Food
Food was great, our tent was perfect and the b&b where we spent our last night in Ullapool was lovely.
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
I decided to make this trip to get away from the city, the internet, the noise and live immersed in nature for a while. I also wanted to forget about all of the small everyday problems. I got what I wanted, it was a real adventure!

by Thomas Romagne 11/08/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

3The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Make the net for the midgees mandatory. It was awful

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

The great Scottish Midge are so unpredictable that often we have no problem at all with them, particularly on paddling trips or in coastal area where there is a breeze, hence the optional nature of the Midge net and repellant. Hope that you still enjoyed the beauty of the North West.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Chris Howe 27/05/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
shame we could not complete the A to B nature of route but the weather was against us.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Both Craig and Liam were excellent - good communication, good instruction, great to talk to, professional throughout.
The Bottom Line
Great trip even though the weather was far from perfect. A good bunch of fellow travellers too. Excellent camp food and camaraderie, and kit.

by Alison Porter 22/05/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Could be a bit clearer with communicating about payment.
Trip Comments
I would do this trip again next week! The weather was a bit windy and stormy at times, so we had a modified schedule which missed out on a couple of mountain ascents - but instead had a lovely lowland walk, and a brilliant day marooned on one of the islands, playing games and practising paddling in a sheltered bay. But we did get to climb the wonderful Suilven, and missed out on the hardcore portage day, hooray. And when the weather was kind, the Highlands were as usual heavenly - and no midges as it's only May. Excellent company in the group. I advise wellies - my feet in wet trainers were a bit miserable.
Accommodation and Food
The food was extraordinarily good - home made cakes kept appearing from the supplies barrels as if by magic, and we still had fresh milk and smoked salmon on the last day. The tent was somewhat cosy but watertight, and there was also the tipi to sit in. As for bathroom facilities.... I would recommend taking your own trowel to avoid the queue. The loch was delightfully bracing for a wash.
Your Guide
Guides were great - Craig the sardonic king of campfire cookery and the lovely ever-smiling Liam were both very good humoured, patient, and kind. They dealt with unpredictable conditions with good grace, and joined in campfire games in full.
The Bottom Line
Money well spent! I feel I have lived Swallows and Amazons for a week. Loved it.

Prices and Departures

46 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
7th May - 13th May 2016
£895
4 place(s) left
17th Sep - 23rd Sep 2016
£895
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

46 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
7th May - 13th May 2016
£895
4 place(s) left
17th Sep - 23rd Sep 2016
£895
2 place(s) left

Price from: £895

Next trip: 7th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

25 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
Just a really great trip!

Karl Rundle
06/10/2015

5

Chris Fletcher
05/10/2015

5

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 25 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 21

4 star 3

3 star 1

2 star 0

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