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Open Canoeing – Great Glen Canoe Trail

Trip Highlights: Canoeing – The Great Glen Canoe Trail

  • Canoe from the west to the east coast through the spectacular Great Glen loch and river system – including some canoeing in Loch Ness
  • Journey in the company of experienced wilderness canoe guides and develop your paddling skills en route
  • Wild camping on the shores of some of Scotland’s finest lochs with superb wilderness cooking throughout
  • 4 nights wild camping on the banks of the lochs
  • All meals as stated in the itinerary (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All transport, starting and finishing in Fort William (with the option to be dropped in Inverness on Day 5 if required)
  • 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.

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.



On this trip we wild camp near the loch shore.

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. If you require a single tent we are happy to provide this, but otherwise 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.

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 what are often long days. We will carry plenty of food to cater a varied and satisfying menu throughout the trip, and some of these may even be prepared on an open fire. Dietary requirements can still be catered for but please ensure we know at the time of booking.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide Fort William Railway Station at 10:30am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Fort William station for 5:00pm on the final day of the trip.

For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website:

Trip Details

The Great Glen Canoe Trail is a classic canoe journey from coast to coast through the spectacular loch and river system of the Great Glen, including canoeing in Loch Ness.

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 Itinerary

Day 1 – Canoeing in the Great Glen: Loch Lochy

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 – Canoeing in the Great Glen: 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 – Canoeing in the Great Glen: 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 – Canoeing on Loch Ness: Fort Augustus to Urquhart Bay

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 – Canoeing on Loch Ness: Urquhart Bay to River Ness

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 end point of a memorable canoe trip through the Great Glen where the River Ness snakes it’s way down to the sea. After sorting our kit, we are transferred back to Fort William for our journey’s end. (B, L)

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Prices and Dates

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2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Trip Status
1st May - 5th May 2019
7 place(s) left
12th Jun - 16th Jun 2019
6 place(s) left
3rd Jul - 7th Jul 2019
8 place(s) left
31st Jul - 4th Aug 2019
8 place(s) left
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Trip Reviews

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.

Rated 4.86 out of 5 based on 65 review(s) of Open Canoeing – Great Glen Canoe Trail

5 star 57

4 star 7

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Scott Younkin 12/09/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

The canoe trip was beginner in the sense of requiring minimal skills but very strenuous. I had a great time and loved the challenge but I would suggest being clear about this. Most people have better lower extremity than upper extremity fitness A person must be in good physical shape and pursuing a fitness program to enjoy this trip canoeing is much more strenuous than walking or biking

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by James Miller 18/08/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

by Clinton Cantwell 15/08/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

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by Lianne McCann 03/10/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

I would absolutely recommend this trip to others

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Price from: £845

Next trip: 1st May

Duration: 4 night(s)

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Region: Multi-Location

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 4

65 review(s)

Trip Photos

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