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Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

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Price from: £795

Next trip: 1st August

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

16 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 13

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 1

1 star 0

by Eric Malcolm 19/05/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
all that was under your control was good
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
the tent was a wee bit small for my liking,
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
Good wilderness experience within the guided group scene

by André Sá 19/05/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Every question i had was answered, quickly and with great sympathy.
Trip Comments
Loved the way the group gelled togheter, making every day great fun, in spite of some bad weather.
Accommodation and Food
The food was very good, especially the evening meals. Unfortunately, the wine ran out a couple of days before the end the trip...but i fully understand the logistical difficulties.
Your Guide
Both Liam and Craig managed to be great guides while at the same time being fully involved in the group social interactions. I have nothing but good things to say about both.
The Bottom Line
In spite of some bad luck with the weather, i had a great time. Beautiful landscapes, good food, great company. Loved everthing about it.

by Andrew Mitchell 18/05/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Made the most of some pretty horrible weather
The Bottom Line
A great way to see some of Scotland's wonderful scenery

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
Excellent ...
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
Excellent catering, especially the home made goodies. Two of the most beautiful places we have ever camped.
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
Tents good size and easy to put up. Food delicious!
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

5Accommodation 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
B&B rooms were a bit “cosy”.
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

4Accommodation and Food

3Your Guide

2The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The guides prepared great food and really cared that we had enough to eat and that we enjoyed our 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

Prices and Departures

37 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
1st Aug - 7th Aug 2015
£795
5 place(s) left
19th Sep - 25th Sep 2015
£795
3 place(s) left
7th May - 15th May 2016
£795
Places available
17th Sep - 23rd Sep 2016
£795
Places available

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

37 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
1st Aug - 7th Aug 2015
£795
5 place(s) left
19th Sep - 25th Sep 2015
£795
3 place(s) left
7th May - 15th May 2016
£795
Places available
17th Sep - 23rd Sep 2016
£795
Places available

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

100% Unedited Reviews
Good wilderness experience within the guided group scene

Eric Malcolm
19/05/2015

4

In spite of some bad luck with the weather, i had a great time. Beautiful landscapes, good food, great company. Loved everthing about it.

André Sá
19/05/2015

5

Rated 4.7 out of 5 based on 16 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 13

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 1

1 star 0

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