UK: +44 (0)1479 420 020
US: 1-866-740-3890
National Geographic - Best Adventure Travel Companies
Pinterest Facebook Twitter

Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

main trip image

Price from: £795

Next trip: 1st August

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

17 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.

 

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 15

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

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.

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.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Glad you had such a good time André, we’ll try and squeeze more wine into the canoes next time!

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

Prices and Departures

66 people viewed this trip in the last week1 Booking in the last 72 hours

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.

Download Dossier

Prices and Departures

66 people viewed this trip in the last week1 Booking in the last 72 hours

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

Canoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West HighlandsCanoeing – The North West Highlands
View Gallery

Download your trip dossier

All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures

 

  • All info in one document
  • Print-friendly PDF format
  • Details of the meeting point
Download Dossier

Meet your guide

Click on a guides name for a full bio.

View guides for all departures

Location


Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
Great trip even though the weather was far from perfect. A good bunch of fellow travellers too. Excellent camp food and camaraderie, and kit.

Chris Howe
27/05/2015

5

Money well spent! I feel I have lived Swallows and Amazons for a week. Loved it.

Alison Porter
22/05/2015

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 17 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 15

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

Read All Trip Reviews