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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


  • 5 nights wild camping and 1 night in a B&B in Ullapool
  • All meals, from lunch on day of arrival through to breakfast on day of departure with the exception of the evening meal in Ullapool which is NOT included. (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.

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.


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.

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.

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:


Trip Details

This incredible trip journeys through one of the most pristine wilderness 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 Itinerary

Day 1 – Inverness to NW Highlands; Canoe Expedition begins

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)

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 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)

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! (B, L, D)

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. 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)

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

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)

Day 6 – Loch Sionascaig to Loch Buine Moire

We canoe up Loch Sionascaig for a short portage into Loch Buine Moire. Our final paddle takes us across the loch to the end point. 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)

Day 7 – Ullapool to Inverness

Following breakfast we load the vehicle and return to Inverness, arriving late morning. (B)

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Prices and Dates

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2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Trip Status
11th May - 17th May 2019
4 place(s) left
20th Jul - 26th Jul 2019
8 place(s) left
3rd Aug - 9th Aug 2019
8 place(s) left
14th Sep - 20th Sep 2019
7 place(s) left
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Trip Reviews

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Rated 4.81 out of 5 based on 47 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 39

4 star 7

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Andrew Tremlett 28/08/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

The Assynt is truly awe-inspiring, and seeing from a canoe on Loch Sionascaig is something I will never forget.

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by Carolyn Betz 04/06/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

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.


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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by Kathy Joynson 31/05/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

I loved the trip. Everything was arranged and all equipment provided. Made it so easy for me as I usually have to do all the work myself. A lovely change to not have tents and gear all over my house after a caneoe trip

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by Jilly Rosser 29/05/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Price from: £1,145

Next trip: 11th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Region: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

47 review(s)

Trip Photos

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