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Selected Trips


    Selected Trips

      Open Canoeing
      Canoeing the Scottish Highlands

      14 review(s)

      Next Trip(s): 1st Jun | 13th Jul Duration: 5 night(s)

      From £1,295 View Prices & Departures

      Trip Details & Highlights

      Trip created by David Russell
      View David's Profile

      Location: Cairngorms and Central Highlands
      Trip Type: Canoeing
      Comfort: Classic


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

      Download Itinerary

      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 while enjoying day trips on classic Scottish rivers and lochs.

      Exploring the central Highlands and Speyside, 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 Highlights

      • 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.

      Day by Day Itinerary

      Day 1 – Canoeing on Loch Ness

      From Inverness, a short transfer takes us to the shores of Loch Ness. After a safety briefing, we head onto the water to learn or refresh our paddle strokes. We’ll then enjoy a 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 – River 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 today. An hour’s drive 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 Detailed Itinerary

      If you would like to instantly download a copy of our PDF Trip Itinerary which contains full details about this itinerary, please complete the form below:

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      What's Included

      Accommodation - Accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and hotels Read More

      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.

      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 £200 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

      Meals - Meals Info (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) Read More

      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.

      Travel - All transport throughout the trip Read More

      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 Dates & Prices

      Trip Dates for 2019 Availability Status Price Book
      1st Jun - 6th Jun 2019 7 place(s) left UNCONFIRMED £1,295 Book Now
      13th Jul - 18th Jul 2019 8 place(s) left UNCONFIRMED £1,295 Book Now
      7th Sep - 12th Sep 2019 6 place(s) left CONFIRMED £1,295 Book Now

      Make This Trip Private

      Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.

      Speak to an Expert

      David loves the lure of wild places. He’s regularly seen heading off with his canoe, camera and tent for a night under the stars. David spent 5 years as an outdoor guide and instructor with qualifications from the Mountain Training Association and British Canoe Association.

      - David Russell

      Call David Ask David a Question

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      Trip Reviews

      Rated 4.93 out of 5 based on 14 review(s) of Open Canoeing – Canoeing the Scottish 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.


      Frances Diver

      Reviewed on 11/06/2018

      The Bottom Line

      The 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.


      Scott Hewett

      Reviewed on 10/06/2018

      The Bottom Line

      The 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


      Johanna Schaub

      Reviewed on 10/06/2018

      The Bottom Line

      The Bottom Line

      I booked Wilderness the 2nd time now and it was as great as the first time (MTB trip on outer Hebrides). For this trip, perhaps I would not emphasize so much the "unlikeliness of capsizing" :-) - but perhaps this is only what I wanted to focus on, because I am not so much a "water person" ...


      Sebastian Oliver

      Reviewed on 02/10/2017

      The Bottom Line

      The Bottom Line

      I'm likely never to be in Scotland again, and North America is not likely to be a big resource for you, but I'd recommend this to anyone - and have. Now the free advertising you could get if you gave a branded t-shirt woven included in the price.....or even had branded product available to participants might help (Black Feather in Canada gets lots of publicity from my wearing their "free" branded T shirt everywhere)


      Natasha Christine

      Reviewed on 18/09/2017

      The Bottom Line

      The Bottom Line

      overall experience was wonderful. I had done the Great Glen Canoe Trail last year with Wilderness Scotland and knew that things don't always go according to plan due mainly to the unpredictable weather. Nevertheless I truly enjoyed every aspect of the trip. Sure the "washing machine" rapids would have been scary if I was on my own with not much knowledge of the moving water but that's why the guides were there, so we can try things out of our comfort zone. I want to do more out of my comfort zone and for sure I will come back for more. Only one little thing was strange, the fact that the last day finished so early. Later is better for all I believe. Thank you Wilderness Scotland for organising a fantastic trip and hats off to Myles and Howard for the effort, patience and commitment throughout the week.

      Difficulty Grades Explained

      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.


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