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Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

  • Journey through a stunning network of remote lochs that lie within the magnificent amphitheatre of mountains in Inverpolly
  • Camp on isolated beaches and islands with amazing panoramic views of Scotland’s most iconic peaks
  • Enjoy days exploring the high peaks on foot as well as paddling through Scotland’s most beautiful wilderness region

 

Red Graded Open Canoeing Holidays 7-9

Our Red grade canoeing trips are also suitable for those with no paddling experience. However, you will need a good level of fitness. You can expect up to 7 hours of paddling each day. These trips also may include some long days hill walking over rough ground, portages and consecutive nights camping in some truly wild places.

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

Are you happy paddling up to 7 hours each day?
Are you used to some long days hill-walking?
Do you enjoy truly wild camping?

On our Open Canoeing expeditions, we camp in spectacular locations near the waterway on which we have travelled. Our tents are single tents unless you are travelling with a partner or in a group and would like a two/three man tent to share. We also carry a base camp tent, which means that we can all gather together for dinner or a hot drink if the weather is inclement.

Meals and Cooking duties!
While the leader will co-ordinate and undertake as much of the cooking as possible on the trip, everyone is expected to help out as this ensures the best meals in the shortest possible time after what are often long days in the mountains.

Fine food is essential to all our trips and expeditions are no different. Using Open Canoes, we are less constrained by weight and therefore have the opportunity to carry food which we would be unable to take on a walking expedition. The scope for imaginative and original meals is therefore enhanced and we will prepare these over our base-camp style dual burner stove and often over an open fire.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide in the centre of Inverness Railway Station on Day 1 at 10:30. Your guide will be waiting there with a canoe paddle in his/her hand so should be instantly recognisable! For full details on how to get to Inverness, 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 24

4 star 4

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Isabella Pereira 27/05/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I found the advice before the trip a bit alarmist - I was advised to get hillfit by going up Snowdon! I know I was doing a tough holiday but going to the gym regularly and having a positive attitude seemed to more than enough given I had Highland walking experience.
Trip Comments
The Highlands are beautiful - that's a given - so it's going to be about the people and the weather. We had brilliant guides in Craig and Laura - cheerful, helpful and technically able - so you always felt looked after, relaxed and also a sense of achievement in learning new skills. And the weather was sensational. Highlights were an amazing climb of Suilven, getting stranded for a day on 'Horseshoe Island', the incredible views while canoeing and camping, great food and drink and many, many comic episodes throughout the week. It was a wonderful holiday.
Accommodation and Food
We were canoeing, so food could have been simpler in fact and less meat was needed I think (but that's my preference too). Good shout on giving us lots of snacks.
Your Guide
Both Craig and Laura were brilliant at making sure everyone in the group had what they needed - particularly when doing something challenging or out of their comfort zone. They were also great teachers and I left the holiday with a sense of achievement of having done a challenging trip and learned new skills. Finally, they were lovely, fun people to spend time with who clearly enjoyed spending time outdoors - all in all, ideal guides for such a demanding trip.
The Bottom Line
It was a great holiday - thank you.

by Kim Lomax 23/05/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Pre-booking was friendly and efficient. Only issue was that my documents (the itinerary and kit list) deleted themselves before I saved them. The kit list was comprehensive and very helpful, although I think swimwear should be added for this trip as we were lucky enough to have great swimming weather!
Trip Comments
The trip was just incredible, it was a great privilege to spend some time in such a wonderfully wild and remote place with great people. We were lucky to have incredible weather with plenty of sunshine and the mountains and lochs were at their most stunning. It was also mercifully midge-free!

I loved the sense of adventure of the trip, and the fact that we weren’t just going to follow a set itinerary but we would set out and see what we could achieve and what would work with the weather conditions. As we had windy conditions we didn't get round to climbing all the mountains mentioned in the itinerary but this just meant that we were able to spend extra time enjoying the areas around our camps.
Accommodation and Food
The camping was great - wild but comfortable. The teepee makes a great social space, and the camping spots were all stunning. The food was excellent and plentiful, too plentiful in fact, I'm sure we all went home a bit heavier despite the exertion!
Your Guide
Our guides Craig and Laura made our trip an absolute joy and I can't rate them highly enough. I always felt that they took both our safety and our enjoyment very seriously, and I liked that they shared their decisions about routes etc with the group. They worked hard to build up our canoe skills and remained calm and encouraging during some challenging paddling conditions. They also encouraged teamwork within the group which is really important. But above all, it's clear that they love doing what they do and this added to our enjoyment of the trip, and they made sure we made the most of the beautifully wild place that we'd worked so hard to reach!
The Bottom Line
It's a brilliant adventure to a wonderfully wild place. If you throw yourself into it, you will be rewarded!

by Sue Thomason 19/05/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Interesting and well-paced activities in a truly inspiring environment -- the less-good bits (wind and ticks) not really subject to human intervention...
Accommodation and Food
We took our own tent. End-of-trip B7B was clean and comfortable. Food was tasty, varied and plentiful.
Your Guide
Our guides were sensible, caring, flexible and calm; they provided very useful advice and coaching and were realistic in their expectations.
The Bottom Line
This was a very interesting and varied trip, and a great opportunity to get intimate with some little-visited landscape.

by Rory Newman 19/05/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Team were accessible and seemed both well-informed and helpful
Trip Comments
We were lucky with the weather - clever of your guides to lay on sunshine for us in NW Scotland - and got what we wanted which was to try the combination of wild camping with canoeing (we have previously had to do this on foot)
Accommodation and Food
Very impressed with the food - again rather a revalation how much can be carried relatively easily by canoe
Your Guide
Thanks very much to both, we had a great time, and learned a bit about open canoeing
The Bottom Line
We had a most enjoyable trip and would be happy to recommend to others

by Karl Rundle 06/10/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Had a few problems getting through on the phone but otherwise great
Trip Comments
The trip exceeded my expectations. The location was stunning, the weather was generally kind to us, the guides were awesome and we had a great group of fellow travellers.
Accommodation and Food
We took our own tent so we didn't have any issues with space or over-complicated frames that others had. The food prepared and provided by Kirk and Will was awesome. 10 out of 10 for food.
Your Guide
Kirk and Will are the best! Extremely helpful, knowledgeable, informative and entertaining. They made a great trip perfect.
The Bottom Line
Just a really great trip!

by Chris Fletcher 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The website was really easy to use and I was able to access several reviews and materials for each trip I was thinking about.
Trip Comments
My canoeing trip was absolutely awesome. Kirk and Will (our guides) were perfect in every way.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Anne Etherington 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
A good team who could always find out the answers to questions.
Trip Comments
Relaxed and stress free trip. A excellent all round trip that certainly exceeded my expectations.
Camping in such beautiful places that few people would have the chance to experience.
Accommodation and Food
The food was always very good, well prepared and presented. A varied and good balanced diet every day.
Amazing when there was never a shop in sight!!
Camping was in great locations.
Your Guide
Kirk and Will were both extremely professional, knowledgeable and great fun to be with on this trip.
Nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble for them.
The Bottom Line
A well organised and memorable trip.

by Sophie Calme 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The service was really personalized and I would receive wise answers to any of my questions. I was actually glad to stop by the office in Aviemore after the trip, even if I did not see any of the wonderful women who attended me during the past 10 months. i was sometimes receiving several answers to the same question, so it might not be very efficient from the point of view of WS, but on my side I was delighted to have different perspectives on the same question.
Trip Comments
Our guides, Kirk and Will, were truly outstanding. They were very knowledgeable, but also highly enjoyable and laid back. They would always consult us regarding what we wanted to do, proposing several options, and adapting them to the weather conditions. They would also complement each other quite fantastically, with Kirk more on the technical side and Will on the natural history side. My companions were super nice and interesting, but the guides made my trip.
Accommodation and Food
Food was really good for a camping trip!!! It was wonderful to have home baked desserts, and was rather astonishing for a trip not organized among friends (it made it feel that way). I was only worried by the quantity of garbage we generated. Of course we left no print, but our food barrels, despite being much lighter, were still full of wraps.
Your Guide
See my first comment on the trip in general. The guides were awesome!
The Bottom Line
It was above my expectations! I was a bit reluctant to be part of an organized trip as I usually don't like to be organized. But the trip was superbly organized and wonderfully guided, making it a fantastic experience.

by Jon Hardes 30/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Excellent! Friendly and timely.
Trip Comments
It really was the trip of a lifetime for me. The northwest Highlands are incredible!!! The guides were extremely knowledgeable and a real pleasure to be around. I would happily do this trip again tomorrow.

All my best - Jon
Accommodation and Food
We had exceptional campsites and the guides did a superb job of feeding us.
Your Guide
Kirk Watson and Will Copestake are AWESOME! I would happily trek around with them again.
The Bottom Line
I absolutely loved this trip. The locations were amazing and the guides were exceptional. It exceeded my high expectations. I want to come back!!!

by Francesco Fanti 17/08/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

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

Prices and Departures

47 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
6th May - 12th May 2017
£895
6 place(s) left
16th Sep - 22nd Sep 2017
£895
6 place(s) left

Trip Details

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 wild land – 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.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Inverness to NW Highlands; Canoe Expedition begins

Our journey to the North West Highlands passes the unmistakable peaks of Stac Pollaidh, Suilven, Ben Mor Coigach, Cul Mor and Cul Beag, we drive to Elphin where the open canoe expedition begins. Before setting off down Loch Veyatie for a paddle down the loch to our first overnight camp, we discuss safety procedures and basic open canoe skills.

Day 2 – Canoeing in Fionn Loch and ascent of Suilven

After breakfast, we paddle our open canoes westwards along Fionn Loch, where we have the opportunity to ascend the mighty Suilven by a route that very few people pass. Our descent takes us back across the moor and the myriad of lochans that dot the landscape to our campsite beside Fionn Loch.

Day 3 – Canoeing Fionn Loch to Loch Sionascaig

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!

Day 4 – Canoeing in Loch Sionascaig and ascent of Cul Mor

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.

Day 5 – Canoeing on Loch Sionascaig and ascent of Cul Beag

We climb Cul Beag via a circular route to witness incomparable views of Coigach and Stac Pollaidh. We may be lucky to see golden eagles coast the skies between the mountain tops of Inverpolly. Looking down at our canoes far below, we savour the views across this wilderness.

Day 6 – Loch Sionascaig to Loch Buine Moire

We canoe up Loch Sionascaig for a short portage into Loch Buine Moire. After a short paddle, we rejoin the vehicle and head to Ullapool for a well-deserved shower and then dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7 – Ullapool to Inverness

Following breakfast we load the vehicle and return to Inverness.

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Prices and Departures

47 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
6th May - 12th May 2017
£895
6 place(s) left
16th Sep - 22nd Sep 2017
£895
6 place(s) left

Price from: £895

Next trip: 6th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

29 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
It was a great holiday - thank you.

Isabella Pereira
27/05/2016

5

It's a brilliant adventure to a wonderfully wild place. If you throw yourself into it, you will be rewarded!

Kim Lomax
23/05/2016

5

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 29 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 24

4 star 4

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

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