UK: +44 (0)1479 420 020
US: 1-866-740-3890
National Geographic - Best Adventure Travel Companies
Want to see our new website? Take a look here. »

Open Canoeing – Canoeing the Scottish Highlands

  • Enjoy the best canoe trips in Scotland, returning to a cosy hotel each night.
  • Paddle classic Scottish rivers such as the Rivers Spey, Glass & Beauly
  • Enjoy warm hospitality and great meals in carefully chosen small hotels.
  • 5 nights accommodation in small hotels and guest houses
  • Most meals, as detailed above (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All transport, starting and finishing in Inverness
  • The services of at least one experienced and knowledgeable canoe guide / driver throughout your trip.
  • All specialist open canoe equipment, including canoes and buoyancy aids.

Green Graded Open Canoeing Holidays 1-3

This Green graded canoeing trip is suitable for those with little or no previous canoeing experience. There is an emphasis on instruction and developing your skills while enjoying the surroundings of some superb locations. You will be able to progress your skills and experience throughout the trip.

You should have a reasonable level of fitness and you can expect up to 6 hours of canoeing each day, with breaks to stretch your legs. You will also be asked to assist with carrying the boats to and from the water, working as a team.



This trip is based at a two comfortable small hotels, where you can be sure of a warm Highland welcome. Accommodation is in a choice of double or twin rooms with ensuite bathroom.

Food is of paramount importance and our meals are prepared from the best local produce. Leisurely lunches are enjoyed on the side of the rivers each day. In the evening we’ll enjoy wonderful home- cooked meals with good, healthy portions. Naturally, vegetarians and other dietary requirements are happily catered for – simply let us know at the time of booking.

On this trip we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.


There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £175 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Inverness Railway Station at 10:30am on Day 1 of your trip. The trip will finish and you will be dropped off at Aviemore Railway Station for 4:00pm 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 trip takes you canoeing on beautiful lochs and rivers while spending the evenings in carefully-selected Highland hotels.

Suitable for beginners and intermediate canoeists, you will learn new skills and develop techniques under expert instruction while enjoying day trips on classic Scottish rivers and lochs.

The trip will start off paddling on flat water and during the trip you will build up to paddling fun and easy stretches of Grade 2 water on classic Scottish canoeing rivers. You will experience outstanding scenery, wildlife and whisky – as well as superb canoeing! If you’re looking for a trip that allows you to spend your days exploring the great outdoors and your evenings in comfortable accommodations, this could be the perfect trip for you.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Warm up paddle on Loch Ness

We meet in Inverness, from where a short transfer takes us to the shores of Loch Ness. After a safety briefing, we head onto the water to refresh our paddle strokes and learn some new techniques. We’ll then enjoy a short paddle on the famous loch, looking out for Nessie as we go! Late afternoon sees us transfer a short distance to our welcoming small hotel near Beauly. (L,D)

Day 2 – Canoeing the Beauly and Aigas Gorge

Close to our hotel flows the meandering River Beauly, which is today’s route. Today we will start to work on skills for paddling on moving water, while keeping an eye out for river wildlife such as otters and osprey. The day ends with a spectacular paddle through the steep-sided walls of the Aigas Gorge, a quiet and serene piece of water. (B,L)

Day 3 – River or Loch Canoeing

We have several options for paddling locations today. If we want to venture into the wilderness then a short transfer takes us to Glen Affric – one of the most beautiful in Scotland and offering fine loch paddling in beautiful scenery. Alternatively if the group are eager to continue developing those river skills then we can paddle on the River Glass – a faster section of the same river we paddled on yesterday. Bounded by beautiful woodlands and shingle banks, the upper section is a stunning paddle. (B,L)

Day 4 – Canoeing in Moray

Today we will choose one of the rivers that flow north-east from the Cairngorms through the rolling countryside of Moray. There are several options we can choose from depending on water levels such as the Lower Findhorn or a section of the Spey.

At the end of the day, a short transfer takes us to the Cairngorms National Park and our hotel for the next two nights. (B,L)

Day 5 – Canoeing the River Spey

Canoeing the River Spey will be a highlight for many people. It is one of Scotland’s classic canoeing rivers and many people return to undertake the complete 4-day trip from mountains to the sea. Our guides will decide which section of the river to take on, with regards to water levels and conditions. Wherever we canoe, you’ll have a great day on the river and you may want to celebrate with one of the many local malt whiskies made in this region. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Canoeing in the Cairngorms

For our last day we can enjoy a great paddle taking in both loch and river boating. Starting on Loch Insh we can look out for birdlife including goldeneye ducks and osprey before we set off downriver on a section of the Spey with great views of the mountains. We paddle downstream to Aviemore where we finish the trip at one of the best pubs in the Cairngorms, with time for a farewell drink before heading to the station. (B,L)

Download Dossier

Prices and Dates

47 people viewed this trip in the last week

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

2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Trip Status
1st Jun - 6th Jun 2019
7 place(s) left
13th Jul - 18th Jul 2019
8 place(s) left
7th Sep - 12th Sep 2019
6 place(s) left
Get a group of friends together and make this trip private

Trip Reviews

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.

Rated 4.94 out of 5 based on 16 review(s) of Open Canoeing – Canoeing the Scottish Highlands

5 star 15

4 star 1

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Gordon Taylor 23/09/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

I had a good time on this trip and I'd do a similar trip when I next have time :)

I think WS is the "go to" tour operator for activity based holidays in Scotland.

Read Full Review

by Owen Torrey 23/09/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Read Full Review

by Frances Diver 11/06/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Great trip, excellent guides, good adventure, stunning countryside - highly recommend this trip to anyone thinking about a bit of time in the Highlands.

Read Full Review

by Scott Hewett 10/06/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Kathy and I agreed that your guides were the best we’ve ever had, and we have been on many trips with other companies. Your office staff and company far exceeds all the others in the business

Read Full Review

Price from: £1,295

Next trip: 1st June

Duration: 5 night(s)

View prices & Dates Make This Tour Private

Region: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

16 review(s)

Trip Photos

View Gallery

Download your trip dossier

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


  • All info in one document
  • Print-friendly PDF format
  • Details of the meeting point
Download Dossier