Trip created by Paul Easto
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Sea kayaking in the Summer Isles is perhaps sea kayaking in Scotland at its finest, as we explore the many islands that dot this beautiful coastline.
The Summer Isles are some of the most scenic islands and our guided sea kayaking expedition is an inspiring journey through a stunning seascape.
Journeying by sea kayak we are able to experience this remarkable coastal environment up close – picking our way through the numerous channels and inlets between the islands. This area is known for its rich marine life with dolphins, porpoises, seals and even whales inhabiting these waters. In the sky, there are many varieties of seabirds and golden eagles can sometimes be seen as well. We’ll be able to explore the islands on foot, allowing you to get to know them from land and sea. This is the perfect trip for someone with some previous kayaking experience looking to enjoy a longer expedition in one of the best areas in the world for sea kayaking.
From Inverness, we travel north-west to the Summer Isles passing Ullapool and the beautiful Coigach and Assynt mountains. Late afternoon sees us launch the sea kayaks and enjoy a short paddle in sheltered waters to our first campsite, a small island located just offshore. Dolphins and whales are often spotted in these waters so we’ll keep our eyes open as we set up camp on the white sandy beach. (L, D)
Route details: Distance 2km, 1hr
Heading south, we sweep around the coastline, passing small sea-cliffs on our way to Badentarbat Bay. After lunch on the grassy bay, we round a point then cross to Horse Island to camp. History records that Spanish treasure is hidden on this island. According to local legend, 100 years ago a shepherd fell into a hole on the island and when he returned home, he found a gold coin in his shoe. Along with friends he returned to the island but could not remember where he had fallen – so the gold remains to this day! (B, L, D)
Route details: Distance 12km, 6hrs
A 2km crossing takes us to Tanera Mor. This is the largest of the Summer Isles and the only inhabited island. It used to be a major fishing port, where up to 200 vessels would jostle for room in the main bay, known as ‘the Anchorage’. These days only a café and a post office remain. We will paddle around the island and then find a quiet bay where we will camp for the next couple of nights. (B, L, D)
Route details: Distance 12km, 6hrs
We leave our camp in the bay paddle north to Eilean Flada Mor and its outlying skerries, admiring the spectacular sandstone architecture of these islands. We pass a seal colony before, if the conditions are suitable, crossing to Eilean a Char then paddling down Tanera Beag’s western shore to a small bay on its southern tip. Here we pull the kayaks ashore and enjoy a leg-stretching walk on this uninhabited island. On the return to our camp, we pass a fragile sandstone arch which it is possible to paddle under at high tide. (B, L, D)
Route details: Distance 12km, 6hrs
We strike camp and paddle northwards, admiring the stunning views of the Assynt peaks to the east which cut into the skyline and dominate the panorama. Leaving the main cluster of islands, we follow the channel between the wildlife reserve of Isle Ristol and Eilean Mullagrach as we journey towards our northernmost point, a tiny landing spot at Faochag Bay. This is our camp for the night, a wild spot at the very tip of the peninsula with stunning views all around. (B, L, D)
Route details: Distance 14km, 7hrs
Turning back southwards, we enjoy a leisurely paddle back to our starting point. As we pass the sea-cliffs to the north of Reiff, we will pause to watch the rock-climbers scale the sandstone cracks and overhangs. They often pause and gaze back at us! Finally, we cruise into the natural harbour for the end of a memorable journey. There’s often time for a quick drink at the local bar before we return to Inverness. (B, L)
Route Details: Distance 8km, 4hrs
On this trip, we wild camp near the shore in spectacular coastal locations. These camps may be remote and difficult to access by foot and this element of isolation adds to their appeal. We provide single tents unless you are travelling with a partner or in a group and would like a tent to share. We 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.
On this trip, we are happy to provide single tents for solo travellers, but if you are willing to share with another traveller this does help reduce our camp size, giving us more options of where to camp and reducing our impact on the ground.
Great food is essential to all our trips and expeditions are no different. While the guide will coordinate 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.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide in the centre of Inverness Railway Station at 10:30 on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Inverness 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: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland/
|Trip Dates for 2019||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|18th May - 23rd May 2019||5 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|22nd Jun - 27th Jun 2019 Female only date||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|27th Jul - 1st Aug 2019||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|17th Aug - 22nd Aug 2019||7 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|30th May - 4th Jun 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|13th Jun - 18th Jun 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|1st Aug - 6th Aug 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
|19th Sep - 24th Sep 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£925||Book Now|
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.
As founder of Wilderness Scotland Paul’s craving for adventure and knowledge of Scotland knows no bounds. His leadership has resulted in Wilderness Scotland twice being named as Best Green Tour Operator in the World at the World Travel Awards and ranked as No.1 Adventure Travel Company in Europe by National Geographic. Paul’s commitment to excellence in all that he pursues becomes obvious in the routes we paddle and the little touches included in this trip.
- Paul EastoCall Paul Ask Paul a Question
Blue Graded Sea Kayaking Holidays 4-6
Our blue graded sea kayaking trips are suitable for fit paddlers with a minimum of 5 full days of sea kayaking experience, with a basic level of technical competence. You can expect 6/7 hours of sea kayaking each day, with plenty of breaks onshore to stretch your legs. You will also be asked to assist with carrying the boats to and from the water, working as a team.
The kayaking will be in coastal waters with few open crossings but you can expect to be paddling in some choppier conditions during the trip. This may be around Sea State 3 (with waves up to 1m high). On the higher Blue grade trips you may be paddling in more exposed areas and encounter stronger winds and waves up to Sea State 4.
If you are unsure about your experience or about Sea States, please give us a call or email to discuss. If you do not yet have enough experience we suggest our Green graded sea kayaking trips.
In the event of bad weather preventing us from kayaking your guide will offer an alternative activity such as a hike.
Rated 4.70 out of 5 based on 74 review(s) of Sea Kayaking – The Summer Isles
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.
Reviewed on 28/05/2017
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
There was only 2 of us on our trip and Paul was great (as he was last year) but we all agreed for wild camping taking things in kayaks you need more people to enable the group to take more things (eg food amounts, ground sheet for the tipi would have meant we meant sat on wet grass in the evenings). Also, I realise a degree of flexibility is needed but it wasn't always clear where we would be staying and we spent some time finding a spot, rather than knowing the good/flat/not water logged spots. TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE: I'm glad Paul was great on your unintentional 'privately guided journey' but do agree that it is more of a challenge deciding what to take with you when only 3 kayaks are involved. We would rather ensure your holiday takes place than cancel it but will review whether we need to up the minimum numbers on our sea kayaking expeditions to take this into consideration. With regards to the camp spots, we do have specific spots we try and use but cannot determine if they are useable until we get there. The state of the sites can vary week to week depending on weather and as such it may be that the guide opts for a change of site to find somewhere more suitable.
Food was really well thought out in terms of menus, thank you. Quantities and packaging was difficult for a small group of us wild camping. The price of the trip was expensive for wild camping. You need 4 people really to make this work.
Paul is great, a real asset. He works tirelessly and with a good nature.
This is my 2nd kayaking trip with wilderness - the first was an introduction to kayaking - we stayed in a bunk house and had good weather and calm water for the most part. The wild camping and sea kayaking was quite a step up from this - if you love camping and are hardy this is great, but I would recommend waiting until July/August for a better chance of good weather and less choppy seas with wind. The Summer Isles are so pretty its nice to see them when the sun is shining.
Reviewed on 05/08/2013
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
although the frequency of emails was slightly too much, I think this is a good strategy for ensuring that people think ahead about what to bring etc
I agreed to meet the team at Aviemore, which was great, but it was a bit disconcerting to arrive to an empty office and no-one around until I eventually managed to attract someone's attention TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONDS: Sorry to hear that you arrived to an empty office. Saturday mornings is our prime departure time and we were all at the stores next to our office seeing biking and walking trips off. We knew that you were coming so we wouldn't have forgotten you :-)
The food was very good, but I was concerned that people were not being encouraged to drink sufficiently. I did feel guilty on occasions for asking for a second cup of tea, and the fact that water was so far away and an effort to collect discouraged people from drinking adequately I think. One trip member did suffer from what she agreed might be dehyrdation one morning (and as a GP she was well placed to make a judgement). I did mention this to the trip leaders who took this on board very well.
Both guides were extremely helpful and hard working in what were sometimes difficult conditions (midges!). They were admirable at being able to interact with and show interest in everyone.
The trip wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped, although the rest of the group were very good company. The wild camping was, to be honest, tedious - and I've done a lot of wild camping! I was also disappointed to have a boat that was too big for me. One small boat on a trip that includes 6 women? And the skeg was almost impossible to operate, to such an extent that I pulled intercostal muscles on my left side, making paddling on day 5 very painful.
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