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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

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?

Accommodation

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 tent to share. Our single tents are two-man size and we use three-man tents for sharing.

We also carry a base camp tent, which means that we can all gather together for dinner and a hot drink even if the weather is inclement.

Food
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 35

4 star 6

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Kathleen Reeser 25/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Great guides
Accommodation and Food
Nice food. Plenty and filling
Your Guide
Excellent local knowledge
The Bottom Line
Great trip. Well worth

by Mike Hodges 25/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The single man tent was very small. The one piece tarp did not fit well over the tent.
Luckily is only rained one day. However, if this is my only complaint, I consider myself to be very lucky. I give the overall experience a 10 hands down!
Your Guide
The itinerary changed somewhat. But we worked well with the guides to create a once in a lifetime experience.
The Bottom Line
I am only giving this a four and not a five because one cannot predict the weather.
But, if the conditions we experienced were guaranteed, I could put my name on an absolute recommendation.

by Karl Goddard 25/09/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Overall, very enjoyable. I will look back on this with fond memories and having learned more than I expected.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation : The tents were great, particularly happy to get one for myself. With hindsight though, I'd like to have brought my own and I did feel a little sorry for the 2 in the group who received the one man tents. Life was a bit cramped for them at times.
Food : Outstanding, at times I was eating better than at home. I don't know how they managed to rustle up the variety, fresh ingredients and flavours that they did. The cooking ingenuity with the stove and pans was impressive. Even a birthday cake (shop bought of course) made an appearance.
Your Guide
Craig and Will were excellent. We were well taken care of (spoiled at times!) and learned lots from them. Felt lucky to have these guys leading the way.
The Bottom Line
The whole trip is a fantastic package with a great balance of elements. Physically challenging at times, but rewarded with great food, excellent guides, group camaraderie and ample time to experience and enjoy a pristine remote environment. A very welcome escape.

by Jane Morgan 21/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
The whole experience was amazing. Our guides (Craig and Laura) were truly brilliant, the weather was perfect, the scenery was wonderful and I really enjoyed the company of the whole group. Could not recommend highly enough.
Accommodation and Food
Really enjoyed starting every day with proper coffee!
Your Guide
Craig - very professional, calm, amusing and knowledgable. Laura - so capable, very cheerful and her knowledge of Scotland and the local area in particular was inspirational.
The Bottom Line
I loved it!

by Ian Glover 18/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Speed of response to questions, helpfulness.
Trip Comments
Great guides, challenging trip at the right pace, professionally delivered.
Accommodation and Food
We were in tents which was expected, the food produced from a two burner cooker was brilliant in the circumstances.
Your Guide
The guides made the trip, I cannot speak highly enough of them.
The Bottom Line
A professional company with a well thought out excursion that was both challenging and fun. The guides were knowledgable, experienced and good company. Great week.

by Gary Fruland 15/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I've been to Europe 9 times previous to this and nothing compares to your country and your staff! Without a doubt my greatest trip ever! Craig and Laura were superb and watched our every move. That means for safety and happiness! Their instincts were always right on! They knew what was in our best interests always!
Trip Comments
My favorite highlight was the beauty of the places we canoed and climbed and knowing that we were in the best of hands. I am 63 years old and even though the trip was extremely hard as advertised, the guides, Craig and Laura were always concerned with our well being and made that a priority!
Accommodation and Food
Food was unbelievable! Nice to know you can carry so much in a canoe. Guides cooked like seasoned chefs!
Your Guide
Craig and Laura are unequaled anywhere!
The Bottom Line
Wilderness Scotland knows how to do it! Can't wipe the smile off of my face! Memories that will never leave me!

by Jim Eccles 15/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Pretty much perfect - thanks
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Alban Gordon 15/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The only thing I'd say is that for me the equipment advice list was a little confusing . It would be better to list with fewer options - for instance on the canoeing trip I think wellingtons are an essential .
Trip Comments
I booked having recently retired and wanted to be physically challenged as well as having the chance to be in The Scottish wilds . Physically I feel I was pushed to just the right limit and the experience of the wild outdoors was perfect for me
Accommodation and Food
The sleeping bag and foam mattress I hired from you felt a little basic. Some kind of blow up mattress would have been better . Probably not surprising and I know now to bring my own next time .
Your Guide
Craig and Laura were both ideal for the trip . They were great company and organised well and I always felt safe
The Bottom Line
A unique experience . As well as a stimulating physical challenge I was immersed in the rugged beauty of Scotland

by Diane Prest 15/05/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Enthusiastic and helpful. If they didn't know the answer they soon found someone who did and got back with the answer.
Trip Comments
This was a fantastic trip with so many highlights, but I think one lasting memory is paddling quietly down Loch Fion. It was so peaceful with just the birds singing the sun shining and the gentle lap of the water, I really felt I was where I was meant to be.
Accommodation and Food
The food was great, such a wide variety and really tasty!
Your Guide
Craig was an excellent guide, good humour and a great knack of offering paddling tips at just the right moment! It was really nice that he gave us time to actually enjoy being where we were instead of being hurried on to the next thing (which I have experienced elsewhere).
Laura has a lovely cheery nature and so hard working. When we walked the hills she kept an eye on me at the back but I never felt pressured or hurried to catch up.
The pair of them were seamless in their execution and worked really well together. I felt very safe and happy under their guidance.
The Bottom Line
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip, it is definitely challenging in places (portage), but what a way to see Scotland in all her wild glory!

by Jamie Bush 28/09/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
East peasy
Trip Comments
Loved it!
Accommodation and Food
Wild camping in remote Scottish locations with eggy bread for breakfast. Getting a warm glow writing this. Cooking on an open fire one night would be a lovely addition
Your Guide
Count yourself lucky if either Craig or Will are on your trip. Both are great cmpany, considerate and supportive. Will's an encyclopaedia, and Crag combines warmth and a dry humour that is not an easy mix to achieve. A great crack (craic).
The Bottom Line
Go ahead and book it

Prices and Departures

31 people viewed this trip in the last week1 Booking in the last 72 hours

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

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
19th May - 25th May 2018
£1,095
5 place(s) left
18th Aug - 24th Aug 2018
£1,095
8 place(s) left
22nd Sep - 28th Sep 2018
£1,095
5 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. (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 pass. 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 carries. (B, L, D)

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. (B, L, D)

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. (B, L)

Day 7 – Ullapool to Inverness

Following breakfast we load the vehicle and return to Inverness. (B)

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Prices and Departures

31 people viewed this trip in the last week1 Booking in the last 72 hours

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

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
19th May - 25th May 2018
£1,095
5 place(s) left
18th Aug - 24th Aug 2018
£1,095
8 place(s) left
22nd Sep - 28th Sep 2018
£1,095
5 place(s) left

Price from: £1,095

Next trip: 19th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: North West Highlands

Comfort: Wilderness Camping

Difficulty: 8

42 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
Great trip. Well worth

Kathleen Reeser
25/09/2017

5

I am only giving this a four and not a five because one cannot predict the weather.
But, if the conditions we experienced were guaranteed, I could put my name on an absolute recommendation.

Mike Hodges
25/09/2017

4

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 42 review(s) of Open Canoeing – North West Highlands

5 star 35

4 star 6

3 star 1

2 star 0

1 star 0

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