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Sea Kayaking – Scottish Sea Kayak Trail South – The Whisky Coast

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Price from: £975

Next trip: 18th June

Duration: 5 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: West Highlands including Knoydart

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 5

18 review(s)
  • The Scottish Sea Kayak Trail has made the National Geographic’s 2011 ‘Tours of a Lifetime’ and Outside Magazine’s coveted ‘Travel Hot List for 2011’
  • No camping, just comfortable beds, hot showers, excellent local restaurants and a little tipple on the way!
  • Sea Kayak from the Isle of Gigha to Oban, passing many beautiful Hebridean islands along the way
  • Link this trip with our ‘Scottish Sea Kayak Trail: Central – The Jacobite Coast’ trip, and also the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail North – The Gaelic Coast trip, which run on consecutive dates. Join all three trips for an epic sea kayaking adventure

Blue Graded Sea Kayaking Holidays 4-6

Our Blue grade sea kayaking trips are suitable for people with at least 5 days previous experience, although don’t worry if you have never Eskimo Rolled! You should be confident on the water and it is preferable if at least some of this experience was under instruction, such as on our Introduction to Sea Kayaking in Scotland course.

You should have a good level of fitness as you can expect up to 6 hours of sea kayaking each day, with plenty of breaks onshore to stretch your legs. The kayaking will be in coastal waters with few open crossings and you can expect to kayak up to 12km in a day, although this will be subject to weather and wind conditions.

Again, all of our blue trips are accommodation based, so you can enjoy hot showers and a warm bed throughout the week.

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

1. Do you have more than 5 days paddle experience?
2. Do you have a good level of fitness?
3. Do you love getting out and about in some beautiful wild places?

On this accommodation-based sea kayaking trip, you will stay in two different hotels along the route. For the first two nights, we stay at a 3 star small hotel located on the shores of Loch Fyne. Accommodation is in a choice of twin or double rooms.

We then move slightly further north and spend the final three nights in a 3-star hotel, located on the shores of Loch Melfort.

Breakfast and packed lunches are provided each day. For evening meals, we can choose to dine in the hotels or visit local bars or restaurants, enjoying the best of local produce.

Single room supplement

We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. It may be possible to book a single room, provided one is available. Please request this at the time of booking and we will let you know if one is available. For this trip, a supplement of £175 is charged if a single room is required – please see booking form terms and conditions.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Oban Railway Station at 1200hrs on Day 1 of your trip. Please make your way outside, to the front door of the train station ticket office where you will see the Wilderness Scotland minibus and trailer just across the road in the temporary parking area. Your guide will be waiting there for you. For full details on how to get to Oban, 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 16

4 star 1

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Hanne Groth 22/08/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

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

by Marc Sidwell 12/08/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We thought that all of the information provided was excellent and that you answered all of our questions.
Trip Comments
Our guides went out of their way to find the best places to paddle every day and to provide a great experience.
Accommodation and Food
We loved the second hotel at Loch Melfort, but we didn't really like the first one near Loch Fyne.
Your Guide
Our guides were excellent - so knowledgeable and did exercises with us. They were interesting to talk to a great to be with after the paddle.
The Bottom Line
Great trip. We will do this again!

by Sharon Berg 06/08/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

3The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
response time to questions could have been more prompt
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
I give a good because the first hotel was below expectations though not horrible. As I mentioned in my previous comment, the room was alright but the food was abysmal. The packed lunches were ample but the quality was very poor.

The second accommodation was very good. In every respect. Pleasant room, attractive common spaces and very good food.

WILDERNESS SCOTLAND RESPONSE:
Thanks for the comments about the packed lunches; I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy them. We’ll pass on your comments to accommodation to ensure they are better for our next group.
Your Guide
see previous comment.

It was helpful to learn some good kayaking techniques from both Howard and Zoe.
The Bottom Line
I discovered that being on the water was not enough for me. I would have preferred a trip that combined some hiking and much more historical/ geographical information on the areas we passed through. It was a pleasure to make the acquaintance of some wonderful fellow travelers.

Please work to improve your response time to e-mail queries. That is a major issue. Apologies are not helpful.

WILDERNESS SCOTLAND RESPONSE:
I’m sorry that you thought our response times were slow. We do aim to respond to all emails within 24 hours during our working week, which is Monday to Friday. We had originally dealt with another member of your party who had to cancel her place on the trip. The one email we have from you was sent on a Thursday evening to a colleague who works part time. She was not in the office on the Friday and does have an out of office to that effect. The office is closed over the weekend so we responded to you on the Monday morning. I believe your email was about car parking and we’re always on the other end of the phone if you need help with that sort of thing quickly.

Our sea kayaking trips do focus on being on the water, exploring the coastline that way. It sounds like this probably wasn’t the ideal trip for you but hopefully you enjoyed the experience anyway!

by Richard Booth 03/08/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The paddle trips were well paced to individuals abilities and weather conditions, which combined with coaching allowed individuals to develop their paddling skills as week progressed. By end of the week felt much more confident in a sea kayak with a real sense of achievement at the distance covered. A fantastic experience all round.
Accommodation and Food
Enjoyed both hotels, particularly the loch Melfort hotel.
Your Guide
Both guides were excellent and clearly at the top of their game. Always felt safe even when conditions became a little more 'testing'.
The Bottom Line
Excellent trip, expensive yes, but cost well reflected in quality of experience, the hotels and the guides. Will hopefully be back next year to do another part of the sea kayak trail.

by David Weinberger 02/07/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The trip was awesome! We had a nice mix of easy paddles and more challenging paddles. The scenery was fantastic and we loved the casual nature of the whole trip.
Trip Comments
The kayakimg was the highlight. We paddled in spite of not so great weather which was great. Often, guides or participants back off on rainy days, but both our guides and fellow participants were intrepid paddlers and we were able to joyously paddle everyday.
Accommodation and Food
The accomodations were nice if not a bit worn down. However, they exceeded our experience on the WHW. Food was good but the exchange rate with euros made it a bit expensive. Part of the journey though.
Your Guide
Zoe and Sarah were excellent, friendly guides. They were good at sharing paddling tips and were always aware of safety concerns. They were fun to paddle with and to share meals with. I like how they stepped up the paddling challenges each day and provided a great mix of casual and challenging opportunities. They were flexible with the weather and presented us with options for each day. I would defiantely recommend them to others and would travel with them again.
The Bottom Line
The kayak trip was a great addtion following our self guided WHW walk. The scenery was awe inspiring and it was great to see another side, a beautiful side, of Scotland. We were lucky to have a great group and it was fun to get to know them and paddle with them. I enjoyed the single kayaks as they allowed greater freedom on the water and allowed us to practice our individual paddling skills. Pretrip info was helpful and the office team was great with helping us prepare for the trip. Thanks for a great time.

by Helen Gillies 29/06/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Questions always answered promptly
Trip Comments
kayaking round easdale, under the bridge and across the cuan sound although the next day pottering around the boats at ardfern in flat calm was fantastic followed by watching seals playing
Accommodation and Food
The grey gull was past its sell by date! badly needed refurbished although comfortable beds.; packed lunch was pretty awful and no choice. loch melfort dining room was lovely and good choice for breakfast and also for packed lunch; food in the bristro was better than the formal dining room; fab views!

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
The Grey Gull Inn is a beautiful old building, locally run in a fantastic location with great facilities. Some of the rooms are ready for a paint and this is ongoing but challenging for the owners to complete during the season when at full capacity but will be undertaken in the quieter winter months. The rooms are clean and tidy with comfortable beds. It is just one of many old 3 star accommodations in the highlands of Scotland and one that we will visit again to ensure it is up to standard.

Your comments about lunch have been fed back to the owner who was shocked as they take pride in quality service and produce at the Grey Gull Inn. The owner will personally oversee the lunches on our next trip to ensure they are of the quality that we both wish to deliver to our clients. It is feedback such as this that allows us to work together with our accommodation partners to deliver a high quality experience for our clients so thank you.
Your Guide
Zoe and Sarah had lots of info to impart and learned more on kayaking technics from Zoe which i shall try to work on! 4 people carrying a kayak makes it easy so thanks for that especially for women; and should be insisted on; Sarah's knowledge of what is under the water is amazing. It would be a good idea for all the kayaking guides to have a discussion before the season starts re where to launch kayaks from and where to come back in; going through a foot of mud is pretty bad; guides could make a list for others to use.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
Thanks for your comments about launch points. Conditions can change from year to year. Our guides complete a trip report for each of their trips which allows future guides to access this information and hence not use the same point again in a given season and make future guides aware of the potential pitfalls of a certain launch point.
The Bottom Line
Yet again it was a great trip and well organised although missed sandy beaches for coffee stops and biscuits; have to include them in next years trip

by Andrew Partington 10/09/2014

2Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We were under the impression that the course would consist of A to B journeys (like a supported walking tour, although we appreciated this might have to alter if weather conditions were unfavourable). The course joining instructions told us not to contact our guide prior to the trip. This led to us paying for a taxi to get to Oban, followed by driving back immediately past the hotel which we had just left 40 minutes away, when we could have arranged to be picked up! We also found that a dry suit or dry trousers were ideal. The notes also mentioned a whisky tasting session at the beginning which didn't happen. Moving the Oban distillery tour to the middle was a good idea since it avoided the problem of driving, if it had taken place at the end.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
Thank you for your feedback. The trip was never advertised as an A to B journey so we're sorry to hear that something must have given this impression. We ask clients not to contact our guide prior to the day of meeting as most of our guides are working in remote areas and not always have reception, hence we advise to contact our office which is staffed Monday - Friday.
A whisky tasting didn't happen on Day 1 but on Day 4 at the Loch Melfort Hotel due to timings during the week.
Trip Comments
Each day was different and continually interesting. Dave had obviously put a lot of thought into planning excellent itineraries which accommodated the needs of all the group. We very much enjoyed Dave and Sue's company.
Highlights: Sea eagle-playing in tidal streams-wildlife.
Low points:none.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
We had met Dave before on Milos and were delighted to find out that he was our guide. Both he and Sue were consistently thoughtful and helpful, and good company throughout the trip. We would love to paddle with him again.
The Bottom Line
An excellent trip and a very relaxing way to go kayaking with none of the hassles of organising our own trip. The kayaking was well within our comfort zone.

by Roy Broxterman 11/08/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
I thought we might see a little more wildlife and historical sites of Scotland.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Howard was a very good guide. He did everything possible to make the trip pleasant, enjoyable, and memorable.
The Bottom Line

by Dominic Batten 04/08/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

3Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

0Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Always a gamble with variables, weather was poor and very small group size
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation was very good at both hotels. Food at Grey Gull was good, better than the menu suggested. Food in Loch Melfort bistro very poor, and overpriced - I liked the Tripadvisor comment from a customer who thought it was the staff canteen (not our Roy!).
Your Guide
Ebullient.
I have finally understood the use of a skeg.
Trips well tailored to weather conditions.
The Bottom Line
Wilderness Scotland remains a very good company. One always takes a chance with the weather when visiting Scotland, and sea kayaking can be fun even in poor conditions. One can count on good quality both of guides and equipment so as to make the most of prevailing conditions.

by Ian Burley 02/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The only comment that I could possibly make concerns the "five days previous experience" thing. I'd had around fifteen days previous experience of sea-kaykaing but on camping trips in Canada on board kayaks with rudders rather than skegs in very calm waters. I was very lost at first in the choppier waters of Scotland and in a much lighter (and seemingly more unstable) kayak that I had trouble steering in the right direction. But, after a few dips, I started to get the hang of it. It's a minor quibble and maybe none of your other customers have come up against this issue.
Trip Comments
The high points are too numerous to mention. The low point for me came when I fell on the rocks on Gigha, cut my knee badly and broke a paddle (by the way, I'm more than willing to pay for a replacement one). However, Erin's very professional reactions and positive approach meant that I was back on the water two days later.
Accommodation and Food
A proper drying room at the Grey Gull Inn would have been handy but the heated towel rails in the bathroom more or less dried out or stuff after rainy days on the water. The Loch Melfort Hotel, on the other hand, was faultless on every level.
Your Guide
Erin was wonderful throughout. And a great nurse when it came to bandaging my damaged knee - the guy at A&E said she did a better job that he could have done.
The Bottom Line
A wonderful trip all round. Oddly, my most inspirational moment was on Loch Sween on a day of relentless rain. The sheer beauty of it, with the mist hovering over the trees and mountains, took my breath away.

Prices and Departures

41 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
18th Jun - 23rd Jun 2016
£975
Places available
30th Jul - 4th Aug 2016
£975
Places available
3rd Sep - 8th Sep 2016
£975
6 place(s) left

Trip Details

The Scottish Sea Kayak Trail is Europe’s first long distance sea kayak trail, stretching from Gigha in the south to the Summer Isles in the north.

The trail was created by sea kayaking aficionado Simon Willis to encourage sea kayakers to explore Scotland’s west coast, and has quickly been recognised as one of the best sea kayaking journeys on the planet.

This trip is designed to allow you to discover the best parts of the southern section of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail, between the Isle of Gigha and Oban, on a series of day paddles. Rather than camping, accommodation is in sea-kayaker-friendly west coast hotels, meaning that you always have somewhere warm and dry to return to after a day on the water.

This trip will introduce you to wonderful coastlines such as the isles of Gigha, Luing and Seil, Loch Craignish and Loch Melfort. Each day we move a little further north, enjoying the fantastic sea kayaking to be found along the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail.

The Trail itself is completely unmarked and undeveloped so the sea kayaking offered is a pristine experience. Under the watchful eye of our experienced guides, you can develop your sea kayaking skills while discovering the amazing seascapes and wildlife of Scotland’s west coast.

At the end of each day, you can enjoy a hot shower and a visit to the local restaurant or pub for dinner before snuggling down with your duvet in our cosy accommodation. If you (like us) you enjoy your sea kayaking and your home comforts in equal measure, then look no further than this itinerary!

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome and onto the water! You will be met by your guide in Oban and we’ll transfer south to the Kintyre Peninsula for an afternoon paddle, refreshing your sea kayaking skills and introducing you to the wonderful southern Highland scenery. Late afternoon, we transfer to our first accommodation, located on the shores of Loch Fyne and enjoy an informal whisky tasting, sampling a selection of the finest whisky from the 11 distilleries within a 30 mile radius.

Day 2 – The Scottish Sea Kayak Trail Begins! From our hotel, it is a short transfer to the put-in point and the start of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail. If conditions are good, we may paddle across to the Isle of Gigha, one of the prettiest Hebridean islands. Alternatively, we can explore West Loch Tarbert and its many small islands and skerries. We return to the hotel late afternoon.

Day 3 – Sea Kayaking in Loch Craignish and Skerries There are many possible destinations today as we leave our hotel and travel north a short distance, crossing the Crinan Canal along the way. Our likely destination is Loch Craignish, which offers good sea kayaking in fairly sheltered waters. Its many islands are dotted with the remains of ancient sites such as forts, chambered cairns and sculptured stones. Overnight at Loch Melfort.

Day 4 – Sea Kayaking: Croabh Haven and Shuna Today we sea kayak in the bay directly in front of our hotel. We can plan our route over breakfast, surveying the bay from the breakfast room’s panoramic windows. There are many small islands and ports to explore and we will land in a few places to explore on land as well.

Day 5 – Sea Kayaking: Luing and Seil A memorable day of sea kayaking as we explore the beautiful Seil Sound. If conditions are good, we may kayak to the island of Easdale, which is home to the World Stone Skimming Championships! If tides are right, we may paddle along a narrow channel and under the Bridge over the Atlantic – you’ll be amazed at its span!

Day 6 – Final morning’s paddle After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a morning of sea kayaking, either on Loch Melfort or in the Sound of Kerrera, completing our exploration of the southern section of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail. We return to Oban early-afternoon which offers us the opportunity to have a guided tour of Oban Distillery and allow time for people to connect with trains home.

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Prices and Departures

41 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
18th Jun - 23rd Jun 2016
£975
Places available
30th Jul - 4th Aug 2016
£975
Places available
3rd Sep - 8th Sep 2016
£975
6 place(s) left

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos

Hanne Groth
22/08/2015

5

Great trip. We will do this again!

Marc Sidwell
12/08/2015

5

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 18 review(s) of Sea Kayaking – Scottish Sea Kayak Trail South – The Whisky Coast

5 star 16

4 star 1

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

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