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    Open Canoeing

    Great Glen Canoe Trail

    84 reviews

    Next Trip: 29th - 4th May 2023 Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights

    From £875 View Prices & Dates

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    Trip created by Stevie Christie
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    Region: Multi-Location
    Trip Type: Canoeing
    Accommodation: Wilderness Camping
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 3 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £218.75 £218.75


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

    Download Itinerary

    The Great Glen offers a classic canoe trip from coast to coast, following an ancient route through the Highlands that has been used since time immemorial to journey through the rugged and mountainous landscape of northern Scotland.

    Our adventure begins near Fort William, and for the next five days, we will paddle our way northeast along several lochs and sections of the Caledonian Canal, culminating in the famous waters of Loch Ness.

    This is old school journeying at a slow pace where we can take in the detail of the scenes around us. Enjoy the sound satisfaction of every mile earned by honest hard work.

    Trip Highlights

    • Paddle from coast to coast on a traditional canoe journey.
    • Develop your canoe skills under the guidance of your expert guides.
    • Enjoy views of Ben Nevis, ruined castles and the beautiful Scottish landscape from the water.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Expedition Begins

    Our canoe journey begins above Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal, a gentle introduction as we make our way to Gairlochy, and the first of several lock gates, at the end of Loch Lochy. Here we will set up our first camp of the trip, enjoying views of Ben Nevis from our tents. (L, D)

    Day 2 – Loch Lochy to Loch Oich

    Today we start on the open water of Loch Lochy, aiming to reach the end of this loch by the end of the day, or if conditions are favourable we may reach the waters of Loch Oich. Our campsite tonight is on the grassy shore of Laggan Locks. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 – Loch Oich to Loch Ness

    After crossing Loch Oich we are back on the canal today for the few miles up to Fort Augustus. We will need to portage every canal lock but this is all part of the journey! Our efforts are rewarded as by the end of the day we will now have reached Loch Ness. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 – Loch Ness

    Loch Ness is awesome in any weather conditions, so as we continue our canoe journey we may be sailing with a following wind or watching reflections of the steep mountains in mirror calm water. Urquhart Castle guards the bay into which we plan to paddle for our last night’s camp, or we may stop on the south shore depending on the conditions. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 – To Inverness

    On our final day we set out onto Loch Ness for the last time, paddling until the end of the loch is in sight. This is the endpoint of a memorable canoe trip through the Great Glen where the River Ness snakes its way down to the sea. After sorting our kit, we head to settle into our comfy accommodation in Inverness* before a delicious dinner to celebrate our adventure.  (B, L, D)

    Day 6 – Expedition Ends

    After enjoying a hearty Scottish breakfast this morning you can depart the guest house to begin your onward travel, rested and with plenty of great memories to see you home. The train station is a short walk where your guides will say farewell. (B)

    Open Canoeing
    Great Glen Canoe Trail

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2023AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    29th Apr - 4th May 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED£875Book Now
    10th Jun - 15th Jun 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED£895Book Now
    8th Jul - 13th Jul 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED£895Book Now
    12th Aug - 17th Aug 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED£895Book Now
    2nd Sep - 7th Sep 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED£895Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    On this trip, we camp at campsites along the route. We provide tents and also carry a base camp tipi, which means that we can all gather together for dinner and a hot drink even if the weather is inclement. On your last night, you will stay at a cosy welcoming guesthouse in Inverness.

    Single tents and accommodation

    There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex on the final night in Inverness.

    During the expedition, we will provide you with a single tent if you require, but we do ask that those who are happy to share a tent with other travellers do so. This helps to keep our camp size small, giving us more options of where to pitch and reducing our environmental impact on these precious places.

    In Inverness, there is no single person supplement charged to solo travellers however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you wish to reserve a room for single occupancy a supplement will be applied.

    Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.

    Meals Read More

    Great food is essential to all our trips and expeditions are no different. While the guide will co-ordinate the cooking and help out, everyone is asked to lend a hand as this ensures the best meals in the shortest possible time after long days. We will carry plenty of food to cater to a varied and satisfying menu throughout the trip, and some of these may be prepared on an open fire. Dietary requirements can still be catered for but please ensure we know at the time of booking.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 4 nights of wild camping on the banks of the lochs.
    • 1 night in a cosy accommodation in Inverness on the final night.
    • All meals as stated in the itinerary. (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • All transport, starting in Fort William and finishing in Inverness.
    • The services of at least one experienced and knowledgeable canoe guide/driver throughout your trip.
    • All group equipment including tents, group safety equipment and cooking /eating equipment and utensils. Please note that sleeping bags are not included. However, sleeping bags and sleeping mats are available for hire.
    • All specialist open canoe equipment, including canoes and buoyancy aids.
    Trip Grading Read More

    Blue Graded 5

    This canoeing trip is only suitable for people with some previous canoeing experience and a good level of fitness. Since we are paddling on moving river waters, including several more exciting rapids (up to Grade 2) competence in steering the canoe is an essential skill from the beginning. You can expect up to 7 hours of paddling a day plus breaks.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide Fort William Railway Station at 10:30am on day 1 of your trip.

    On the final day, your guide will take you on foot from your accommodation to Inverness Railway Station by 10:00am.

    For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland/

    Photo Gallery

    Make This Trip Private

    Fancy this trip just for your group? Get together with family and friends spend quality time exploring wild places. A private trip allows you to benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides but with the advantage of the flexibility to tailor the days to your group. Make the trip more or less challenging depending on your experience or choose to add in some optional extras like castle or distillery visits depending on your interests. The price of a private trip will depend on the number of travellers in your group. Let us know your prefered departure date and we'll take care of the rest.

    Speak to an Expert

    Bridget Brown

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Bridget a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Blue Graded Open Canoeing Holidays 4-6

    Great Glen

    This Blue graded canoeing trip is suitable for people with no previous canoeing experience, but a good level of fitness is required. We will be paddling for up to 7 hours each day on flat water lochs and canals, however in windy conditions it will be challenging and we will encounter small waves on the larger lochs.

    River Spey Descent

    This Blue graded canoeing trip is only suitable for people with some previous canoeing experience and a good level of fitness. Since we are paddling on moving river waters, including several more exciting rapids (up to Grade 2) competence steering the canoe is an essential skill from the beginning. You can expect up to 7 hours of paddling a day plus breaks.

    North West Highlands

    This Blue graded trip combines canoeing and hillwalking. It is suitable for people with no previous experience in canoeing but a good level of fitness and hiking experience is required. This is a very physically demanding trip as we canoe on wild lochs, hike remote routes on rough ground, portage our boats from loch to loch and camp in wild terrain.

    We will be active for up to 8 hours each day. The hikes will be mostly off-path and include ascending peaks up to 3000ft high over rough, boggy and bouldery terrain. The canoeing will be on flat-water lochs but this can be challenging in windy conditions and there may be small waves. We also have to carry or ‘portage’ all our boats and gear from loch to loch – an integral part of journeying by canoe.

    Compare open canoeing grades

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 4.88 out of 5 based on 84 reviews of Open Canoeing – Great Glen Canoe Trail


    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.


    Brian Lawrence

    Reviewed on 13/07/2022

    Age: 50 - 60
    Country: United Kingdom
    Trip Date: 25/06/2022
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    From my initial booking to dropping me back to my car at the end of the trip, Wilderness Scotland were faultless. The trip was really well organised, the guides brilliant, a real adventure and I had a wonderful time.


    Aidan Ruland

    Reviewed on 11/07/2022

    Age: 30 - 40
    Country: UK
    Trip Date: 25/06/2022
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Incredible experience that surpassed expectations. Very well organised, expertly guided, brilliant pre-trip advice, and thoroughly enjoyable.


    Mark Pattrick

    Reviewed on 03/07/2022

    Age: 30 - 40
    Country: United Kingdom
    Trip Date: 25/06/2022
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Easy to book, great guides, wonderful food, an authentic wilderness adventure where a team is formed in order to enjoy and make the most of an exceptional week away. Loved it all from start to finish and worth every penny

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