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    Open Canoeing
    North West Highlands

    56 review(s)

    Next Trip(s): 30th Jul | 27th Aug Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From £1,075 View Prices & Dates

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    Trip created by Stevie Christie
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    Region: North West Highlands
    Trip Type: Canoeing
    Accommodation: Wilderness Camping
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 2 Traveller(s) Book
    Deposit From: £273.75 £273.75


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

    Download Itinerary

    This challenging wilderness trip explores one of the most pristine natural areas of Scotland. We will journey into a remote region of lochs and mountains in the Northwest of the Scottish Highlands. Some days will be spent journeying in our canoes, paddling and portaging all our boats and gear from loch to loch. On other days we will remain in the same camp and hike up to the iconic peaks that surround us by wild and rarely hiked routes. 

    We will enjoy an inherently flexible itinerary and plan our trip day by day as we travel, based on the conditions. This is a true wilderness trip, a long way from the nearest road or town and we are unlikely to meet other people during our adventure. At night we wild camp where we please on small islands and sandy coves, enjoying the spectacular views all around.

    Trip Highlights

    • Explore the wildest parts of Inverpolly Nature Reserve in Scotland's remote north west.
    • Make an expedition by canoe, carrying everything we need for the duration of the trip.
    • Hike iconic peaks such as Stac Pollaidh.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Meet Inverness, transfer to Assynt

    This morning we will meet in Inverness and then transfer north to Assynt and our put-in at Loch Sionascaig. After loading the boats with everything we need for the next two nights of adventure we take to the water and paddle to our island camp-site, surrounded by wild country and towering mountains. (L, D)

    Day 2 – Hiking an Inverpolly peak

    We’ll need our walking boots today as we hike to an amazing mountain viewpoint on one of the three hills surrounding Loch Sionascaig. Setting off from our island, a short paddle takes us back to the mainland. From here we set out on foot through wild terrain and start our ascent. No path – just heather, stone and wild raw landscape everywhere we look. We’re almost guaranteed to have the mountain to ourselves. After drinking in the views from the summit we return to our boats and paddle back to camp. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 – Paddle out and rest day

    After breakfast, we pack up our camp and paddle back to the van. We transfer to the nearby village of Ullapool where we will settle in to our accommodation for the tonight before enjoying a relaxed afternoon wandering around the town or just gazing out across the surrounding views of mountains and lochs. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 – Journeying on Loch Maree

    Departing Ullapool, we drive south to the shores of stunning Loch Maree. Once again we will load up the boats with all we need for two nights of wild camping and set off on the water. We’ll spend our day exploring among the dozens of islands that dot the loch, covered in beautiful forest. Your guide will tell you all about the amazing history of this beautiful loch – tales of Vikings, saints and lunatics and we’ll perhaps go looking for Scotland’s only island on a loch on an island on a loch. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 – Beinn Airigh Charr

    We’ll need our boots again today! First, we cross Loch Maree to its remote shore eastern shore. Leaving the boats again we start hiking up through stunning wild forest before gaining the open hillside. We hike to the summit of Beinn Airigh Charr which stands on the boundaries of an area known as “The Great Wilderness”. The view from the summit is one of the best mountain scenes in all of Scotland. Once again we return by the way we came and paddle back to our camp for the night. (B, L, D)

    Day 6 – Paddling on Loch Maree

    After packing up camp we can enjoy a final paddle on Loch Maree before returning to the van. Once all is packed away we transfer a short distance to Gairloch where we will spend the final night in a comfortable guesthouse and enjoy a celebratory meal together. (B, L, D)

    Day 7 – Return to Inverness

    On our final morning we’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast and maybe a stroll on the beach at Gairloch before we start the drive back through the Highlands to Inverness, arriving early afternoon. (B, L)

    North West Highlands

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2022AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    30th Jul - 5th Aug 2022Trip FullFULLY BOOKED£1,095
    27th Aug - 2nd Sep 20225 place(s) leftCONFIRMED£1,095Book Now
    Trip Dates for 2023AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    13th May - 19th May 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,075Book Now
    24th Jun - 30th Jun 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,075Book Now
    15th Jul - 21st Jul 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,075Book Now
    19th Aug - 25th Aug 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,075Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More


    On this trip we wild camp in spectacular locations. These are often remote and hard to reach on foot alone, adding to their appeal. 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. Mid-trip we will spend a night in the wee village of Ullapool, and we will spend the final night in Gairloch. So you can enjoy a hot shower and comfy bed during the trip and before departing on the final morning.

    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 a varied and satisfying menu throughout the trip. Dietary requirements can still be catered for but please ensure we know at the time of booking.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 4 nights wild camping and 2 nights in B&B accommodation.
    • All meals, from lunch on day of arrival through to breakfast on day of departure (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • All transport throughout the trip, starting and finishing at Inverness Railway Station.
    • 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 but are available for hire.
    • All specialist open canoe equipment, including canoes and buoyancy aids.
    Travel Read More

    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 2:00pm on the final day of the trip.

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

    If you would like to use your own vehicle on the trip please get in touch with our team to discuss.

    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

    Stevie Christie

    As an avid adventurer, Stevie has life-long experience in Scotland’s outdoors. He’s Co-Owner and Head of Adventure with Wilderness and been with us for over 15 years in a variety of roles, with innovative trip design being both a passion and a speciality. In his spare time, Stevie runs the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, bringing the world’s most inspiring adventure filmmakers and athletes to an audience of over 1,500 each year. His love for adventure and knowledge of Scotland inspired him to design this exciting canoe trip.

    Ask Stevie 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.

    Compare open canoeing grades

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 4.84 out of 5 based on 56 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.


    Peter Higginson

    Reviewed on 06/09/2021

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: UK
    Trip Date: 21/08/2021
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line



    Tim Ralph

    Reviewed on 01/09/2021

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: England
    Trip Date: 21/08/2021
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    It was thoroughly enjoyable, laid back, and physically not challenging, however, there are times that require considerable physical effort, such as carrying all the canoes and equipment from one loch to another. To enjoy this trip to its full potential, you should have a good level of fitness. We were blessed with having a group that bonded well. The balance of two nights wild camping followed by one in a hotel and then a further two camping and finally the last night in a hotel, works well and appears to make an enjoyable week seem longer.


    Brendan OCiobhain

    Reviewed on 31/08/2021

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: United Kingdom
    Trip Date: 21/08/2021
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

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