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Open Canoeing – River Spey Descent

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Price from: £475

Next trip: 12th September

Duration: 3 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 5

15 review(s)
  • Paddle through tranquil pine forests and Scotland’s most famous whisky region as you journey the length of the River Spey
  • Experience a diverse range of river conditions, from gentle meanders to more challenging rapids towards the end of the trip
  • Choose from a comfortable hotel-based trip (£695); or a wilder experience as you camp in peaceful campsites on the river bank each evening (£475)

Blue Graded Open Canoeing Holidays 4-6

Our Blue grade canoeing trips are still suitable for people with no previous experience. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required. You can expect up to 7 hours of paddling each day with plenty of breaks.

These trips generally involve being further away from civilisation with multi-day wild camping.

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

Do you have a reasonable level of fitness?
Are you happy camping under the stars for a few nights?

 

We offer a choice of style of trip on the River Spey Descent – staying in hotels or wild camping.

The more comfortable option involves staying all 3 nights in a comfortable hotel located midway down the River Spey. We stay in the hotel for all 3 nights, with short transfers at the start and end of each day to the start / finish point.

Those of you who prefer a wilder experience can choose one of our camping trips. Each night, we camp in peaceful locations near the river bank. Some camps are wild with no facilities while some have very basic facilities such as a toilet and cold running water. 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 on camping trips!

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 or on the river.

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 so the meals can be a surprising highlight of this trip for many people!

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide in the Waiting Room at Aviemore Railway Station at 10:00 on Day 1. For full details on how to get to Aviemore, please see our website: Travel to Scotland.

 

by Kelly McMahon 26/07/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I was not the primary person responsible for booking the trip so I can only say that what I received from my friend was thorough and helpful and timely.
Trip Comments
Everything was handled smoothly. Loved that there was an extra camping pad in the van because we were unable to fit one into our luggage.
Accommodation and Food
I was not the primary person responsible for booking the trip so I can only say that what I received from my friend was thorough and helpful and timely.
Your Guide
Biscuit was the best guide EVER! He could not have been more positive, helpful, sweet, and enjoyable to be around.
The Bottom Line
Ask for Biscuit to be your guide! He's unbeatable, unflappable, and such a joy.

by Barry Ballard 26/07/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The equipment provided was top notch and the guide, Biscuit, proved not only to be knowledgeable but tremendously personable.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Biscuit was always positive and encouraging, especially for those of us that had never canoed before. He was a joy to work with and fun to be around in addition to his guidance.
The Bottom Line

by Lynn Bjerke 26/07/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I always received rapid response to all queries & that is greatly appreciated.
Trip Comments
The entire group feels that our trip was extremely good. They felt that a huge part of our amazing experience was due to the personality & skill of our guide - Biscuit. He was critical and we think he is a prize asset for your organization!
Accommodation and Food
I always received rapid response to all queries & that is greatly appreciated.
Your Guide
I would definitely, unreservedly recommend Biscuit as a guide. He was patient, extremely flexible and always cheerful. What a lovely and perfect guide to enjoy the beauty of the Spey river. He tuned into our group likes and made our journey even better by knowing when to do more or less - when to rest & when to hit the distillery! Biscuit is the best.
The Bottom Line
Our guide was so amiable and competent that it made our river Spey canoe trip just a breeze. We were so well looked after that we were completely free to enjoy our trip, the scenery and the amazing experience of seeing Scotland by canoe!

by Louise Crow 26/07/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
We had a fantastic time - great weather, beautiful river, riverside camping, and we all skilled up on the boats.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Biscuit was a wonderful guide, who really made the trip for us.
The Bottom Line
A fantastic trip - we all had a wonderful time in amazing surroundings.

by Caroline Forcer 02/06/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Biscuit was enthusiastic, encouraging, informative,reassuring, motivating, entertaining, friendly, inclusive, a great host, hard working (and a great paddler!) He is also good at picking up on the small signs of tiredness or cold and addresses it without making you feel embarassed.
The Bottom Line

by Stephen Roberts 15/05/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The rapids were a bit more exciting than expected.
At one point I misunderstood the intention of the guide and changed my mind too late to follow down the "easy" route and ended up in the worst place almost capsizing. It turned out the difficult route was chosen for the purposes of the film being made. As a relative novice this knocked back my confidence for the rest of the day and fear dominated. The final day however restored confidence and was a delight.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Full of energy and always able to find a positive comment after a disaster. Very useful instruction throughout the trip. Worth keeping close to the guide boat to get tips and info. He worked very hard throughout the day.
The Bottom Line
Fast flowing river paddling is very different to paddling on the lochs. You need to keep your eye on the ball and anticipate the hazards. Getting it right is very satisfying.

by Karl Thurlow 15/05/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Great to learn a new skill and experience the Spey in full flow and enjoy wild camping at it's best.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Biscuit was nothing short of fantastic. A very positive, supportive ad energetic guide whose love for what he does was contagious.
The Bottom Line
A perfect choice for escaping the hum drum of day to day life and enjoying a journey that inspires and challenges you along the way. A fantastic experience.

by Malcolm Stratton 26/09/2013

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
John and I were novices at canoeing so the advice on trying out was good. However a phone call would probably not go amiss for first timers to make them au fait with all aspects of what to expect. Seasoned canoers/campers would probably know what to expect. While the documentation covers most things first hand knowledge would help.
Trip Comments
The low was putting on wet socks and wellies! There were many highs when things went right but the ultimate was finally reaching the end and the sense of achievement.
Accommodation and Food
John and I were novices at canoeing so the advice on trying out was good. However a phone call would probably not go amiss for first timers to make them au fait with all aspects of what to expect. Seasoned canoers/campers would probably know what to expect. While the documentation covers most things first hand knowledge would help.
Your Guide
They were both great people (and cooks )with unlimited patience.
The Bottom Line
It was a tremendous experience which challenged both physically and mentally.It was also good to get away from the 'soft life' we all too easily become accustomed to.

by William MacMillan 22/09/2013

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The route description was really good - we enjoyed looking it up on the map before the trip. However the kit list is aimed at walkers - it would be helpful to have information aimed at paddlers. For example, a walking waterproof was suggested but as kayakers we own better paddling waterproofs than walking waterproofs.
Trip Comments
We really enjoyed the trip.
High points were paddling through the washing machine without swamping and taking time to enjoy the scenery on route.
Low points were the cold weather which unfortunately cannot be controlled!
Accommodation and Food
The route description was really good - we enjoyed looking it up on the map before the trip. However the kit list is aimed at walkers - it would be helpful to have information aimed at paddlers. For example, a walking waterproof was suggested but as kayakers we own better paddling waterproofs than walking waterproofs.
Your Guide
Biscuit and Laura were fantastic guides helping to improve the paddling standards of all paddlers no matter what their starting ability.
The Bottom Line

by Susan Leadbetter 22/09/2013

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

Prices and Departures

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
12th Sep - 15th Sep 2014
£475
2 place(s) left

Trip Details

Join us for a classic Scottish canoeing trip down the River Spey, as we paddle through Speyside in the scenic North East Highlands.

This wonderful Scottish river trip descends the famous River Spey passing a through pine forests, heather-covered hills and Scotland’s most celebrated whisky region.

The canoeing is easy at first but becomes more challenging as we travel downstream through several rapids. It is not just the character of the river which changes – the pine forests take on a new character with each season. These forests are home to a diverse range of wildlife including red deer and capercaillie, and there’s always the chance of spotting golden eagles and other large birds of prey overhead.

On this itinerary, we offer departures which stay in a hotel all 3 nights; and trips which involve wild camping on the river bank each night, moving to a new campsite each day. Please note that it is not possible to stay in hotels on the trips which are designated as wild camping trips. Please note that for the hotel-based departures, a short transfer at the start and end of each day takes us back to our start / finish point, so you will still paddle the full distance.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Canoeing on the River Spey: The expedition begins!
Our canoe guide meets you at the railway station in Aviemore and we transfer to our put-in point, a short distance away. We cast off down the gently moving water learning a few paddle strokes as we journey down the river to our first night’s camp. On hotel-based trips, a short transfer takes us to our hotel.

Day 2 – Canoeing the Spey: Boat of Balliefurth to Blacksboat
Following breakfast, we paddle into the heart of malt whisky country. There is time to work on the open canoe skills which will be essential for negotiating the rapids which lie ahead in the second half of the journey. Indeed, the day finishes with a trip through the short rapid known as the ‘Washing Machine’ before we reach our next camp. On hotel-based trips, a short transfer takes us to our hotel.

Day 3 – Canoeing on the Spey: Blacksboat to Craigellachie
Our rapid-running skills are tested to the full as we meet unforgettable rapids such as the Station Pool of Knockando and numerous shorter rapids. After an exhilarating day of paddling, we camp near the mouth of the River Fiddich. On hotel-based trips, we exit the river and a short transfer takes us to our hotel.

Day 4- Canoeing on the Spey: Craigellachie to Spey Bay
Under the shadow of Ben Aigan, we spend the morning descending through the Rothes Glens to the beautiful river pools at Delfur. As the River Spey gathers speed in its race to the sea, we round the many bends that lead through the coastal plain to our journey’s end at Spey Bay. At the end of the journey, you are transferred back to Aviemore Railway Station where the trip ends.

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Prices and Departures

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
12th Sep - 15th Sep 2014
£475
2 place(s) left

Trip Photos

Open Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey DescentOpen Canoeing – River Spey Descent
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Trip reviews

Ask for Biscuit to be your guide! He's unbeatable, unflappable, and such a joy.

Kelly McMahon
26/07/2014

5

Barry Ballard
26/07/2014

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 15 review(s) of Open Canoeing – River Spey Descent

Read All Trip Reviews