Trip created by David Russell
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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 wildland – 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.
We meet in Inverness this morning and drive to the Northwest Highlands. When we arrive at the start point the guides will deliver a comprehensive briefing before we practise some basic open canoe skills and discuss safety procedures. Then it’s time to load up the boats and set off down the loch towards our first overnight camp. Welcome to the wilderness! (L, D)
After breakfast, we paddle westwards along Fionn Loch, where we have the opportunity to ascend the mighty Suilven by a route that very few people use. Our descent takes us back across the moor and the myriad of lochans that dot the landscape to our campsite beside Fionn Loch. (B, L, D)
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! (B, L, D)
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. Sometimes we even see the deer swimming in the lochs – they can swim several hundred metres to reach islands where they can graze. (B, L, D)
We choose to climb either Cul Beag via a circular route or the classic mini-mountain of Stac Pollaidh – both of which offer superb views of Coigach. We may be lucky enough to see golden eagles soaring between the mountain tops of Inverpolly. Looking down at our canoes far below, we savour the views across this magical wilderness. (B, L, D)
We canoe up Loch Sionascaig for a short portage into Loch Buine Moire. Our final paddle takes us across the loch to the endpoint. We rejoin the vehicle and head to our B&B accommodation in Ullapool for a well-deserved shower and celebratory dinner in a local restaurant. (B, L)
Following breakfast we load up the vehicle and return to Inverness, arriving late morning. (B)
On this trip we wild camp near the loch shore in spectacular locations.
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.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Inverness Railway Station at 10:30am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Inverness Station for 11:00am on the final day of the trip.
For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland/
|Trip Dates for 2019||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|3rd Aug - 9th Aug 2019||4 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,145||Book Now|
|14th Sep - 20th Sep 2019||6 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,145||Book Now|
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|2nd May - 8th May 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,145||Book Now|
|27th Jun - 3rd Jul 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,145||Book Now|
|25th Jul - 31st Jul 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,145||Book Now|
|8th Aug - 14th Aug 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,145||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
David loves the lure of wild places. He’s regularly seen heading off with his canoe, camera and tent for a night under the stars. David spent 5 years as an outdoor guide and instructor with qualifications from the Mountain Training Association and British Canoe Association. He’s passionate about landscape photography and has been commended for his striking images of Scotland’s wild places.
- David RussellAsk David a Question
Red Graded Open Canoeing Holidays 7-9
This Red graded trip combines canoeing and hillwalking. It is suitable for people with no previous experience of canoeing but a good level of fitness and hiking experience is required. This is 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.
Rated 4.81 out of 5 based on 48 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands
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.
Reviewed on 25/05/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Country: United Kingdom
Trip Date: 11/05/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Despite the provided packing list and a phone call I still didn't really know just what I could bring. All worked out fine but clarification on capacity of the barrels and knowing that it was possible to take an extra waterproof bag would have helped.
Great mix of activities and an ideal location. We had amazing weather and a super group. Add in two cracking guides and it was a real adventure and a lot of fun along the way.
What can you say about a tent? Good quality and plenty of room.
Can't think how they could have been better. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, skilled, well organised, sympathetic to the group and above all great company.
This was a really great adventure in a wonderful bit of wilderness.
Reviewed on 28/08/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
It was all fine, maybe two points to note - 1) I phoned up with a query about distribution of kit between my rucksack and the canoe barrel, and I didn't feel the person really understood the point I was asking. 2) This is a bit more tangential - in checking that I was aware of the fitness level required, the advisor came back to me so many times that in the end I genuinely thought she was doubting me. I'm completely on board with making sure, but it almost went over the top.
Grant & Tom made a great duo: full of enthusiasm and banter. They were flexible in their approach, and brought sunshine even when the rain poured!
One of the most impressive parts of the trip was the flexibility needed to adapt to the changing weather conditions. This meant we spent some time camping on a loch island, and other days on coastal camping sites.
Please see previous comments
The Assynt is truly awe-inspiring, and seeing from a canoe on Loch Sionascaig is something I will never forget.
Reviewed on 04/06/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
The guides adjusted the itinerary based on the weather forecast and this turned out to be a good decision.
It would have been easier to carry equipment if it had all been packed with backpack straps. Things like coolers turned out to be impractical.
Camping out is what it is.
The guides were excellent and very competent. However, an adjustment in the itinerary based on the weather changed the itinerary and they guides chose a more difficult path than was necessary.
I enjoyed the trip very much. However, portaging the canoes and all the gear over rough and muddy terrain and aside waterfalls proved unnecessarily challenging as we could have put in at a different spot to avoid all of these obstacles. Hiking to/from the base of the peak (10 km RT) we wanted to climb also prevented us from actually reaching the summit. Perhaps another, shorter way up would have allowed us to reach the peak. TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONCE: Thanks for your feedback. The itinerary on this trip did have to be adjusted based on the weather. The put in places were chosen to give the best options for paddling and hiking but it sounds like the explanation for this could have been clearer and we’ll follow up on that.
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