The Best Places to go Kayaking in Scotland

An image of someone sea kayaking through Stacks

Scotland is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, making it an ideal destination for kayaking enthusiasts. From Fjord like lochs to exhilarating rivers, the country offers diverse kayaking experiences for beginners and experts alike.

If you’re looking to explore the waters of this stunning country, here is a guide to the best places to go kayaking in Scotland, along with insights into the exceptional services provided by Active Outdoor Pursuits.

Aviemore & Cairngorms

Located in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore is a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This vibrant town is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and a wide array of outdoor activities, with kayaking being one of the most popular pursuits. The surrounding rivers and lochs, such as the River Spey and Loch Insh, offer diverse kayaking experiences suitable for all levels of paddlers.

A group of young people kayaking in the Cairngorms

River Spey

The River Spey is one of Scotland’s most famous rivers, well-known for its fast-flowing waters and picturesque landscapes. Stretching over 100 miles, the Spey offers a variety of kayaking routes, from gentle sections ideal for beginners to more challenging rapids for the experienced kayaker. Paddling down the Spey, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Cairngorms and pass by historic sites and charming villages. The river’s dynamic nature ensures an exhilarating adventure, making it a must-visit for kayaking enthusiasts.

Loch Insh

Loch Insh is another gem located near Aviemore, providing a serene and scenic setting for kayaking. This freshwater loch is perfect for those seeking a tranquil paddling experience. The calm waters of Loch Insh are ideal for beginners and families, offering a safe environment to practice kayaking skills. The loch is also home to a variety of wildlife, making your kayaking trip even more enjoyable.

Kayaking in Ayrshire

Ayrshire offers fantastic kayaking opportunities for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced paddler, the region’s diverse waterways promise an enjoyable and memorable experience. Here are some of the top kayaking spots in Ayrshire:

River Doon

The River Doon is a charming river that flows from Loch Doon to the Firth of Clyde at Ayr. It is particularly suitable for beginners and those looking to enjoy a leisurely paddle. The river meanders through beautiful countryside, offering serene views and a chance to spot local wildlife. Its gentle currents make it a perfect choice for a relaxed kayaking outing.

Bogton Loch

Bogton Loch, situated near Dalmellington, is another excellent kayaking destination. This small, tranquil loch is ideal for those seeking a peaceful paddling experience. Its calm waters provide a safe environment for novices to practice their skills, while the surrounding scenery offers a picturesque backdrop for your adventure.

Loch Doon

For a more expansive kayaking experience, head to Loch Doon. This large freshwater loch, located within the Galloway Forest Park, is surrounded by stunning landscapes and historic sites, including the ruins of Loch Doon Castle. The loch’s vast waters are perfect for exploring at your own pace, whether you’re seeking a gentle paddle along the shoreline or a more extended expedition across the loch. Loch Doon’s diverse environment also supports various wildlife, enhancing the overall paddling experience. Kayakers can venture further into the loch, exploring the deeper waters and hidden channels. This can be more challenging, as some narrow sections require careful navigation. The mix of tranquil open waters and intricate passages makes Loch Doon a versatile and exciting destination for kayakers of all skill levels.

Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Scotland’s coastline is a haven for sea kayaking enthusiasts, offering world-class experiences steeped in history and natural beauty. Embark on a sea kayaking expedition with Active Outdoor Pursuits and explore the rugged and breathtaking North and West coasts of Scotland. From paddling alongside seals to camping under the stars on pristine beaches, a sea kayaking adventure promises an unforgettable journey through some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.

The North coast of Scotland is renowned for its abundant marine and wildlife. As you paddle along, you may encounter seals, dolphins, and even the occasional whale. The cliffs and rocky shores are home to a variety of nesting birds, adding to the rich biodiversity of the area. The chance to observe these creatures in their natural habitat is a highlight of any sea kayaking expedition.

Skye, Applecross, and Torridon

One of the popular routes includes a trip between Skye, Applecross, and Torridon. This expedition takes you through some of the most dramatic and picturesque coastal scenery in Scotland. The Isle of Skye, with its rugged coastline and clear waters, is a highlight for many paddlers. The journey also includes the beautiful Applecross Peninsula and the dramatic landscapes of Torridon.

It should be noted that due to its open waters and position on Scotland’s west coast, sea kayaking within this region of Scotland is often exposed to strong winds. Paddlers should therefore have completed at least one sea kayak expedition or completed an intensive training course of two to three days duration.

Loch Shiel to Skye West Coast Odyssey

Another incredible sea kayaking adventure is the Loch Shiel to Skye West Coast Odyssey. This route provides a mix of tranquil lochs, open sea, and stunning island landscapes. You’ll paddle past historic sites, hidden coves, and pristine beaches, all while experiencing the raw beauty of Scotland’s West Coast.

Looking to Book a Kayaking Experience in Scotland?

Active Outdoor Pursuits provides a variety of kayaking adventures across Scotland, promising an unforgettable experience for every participant. Our extensive history in the region and dedication to quality have established us as a leading choice for kayaking tours. Whether you are interested in one-to-one tuition, group outings, or multi-day sea kayaking adventures, we have something to offer everyone.

As an Adventure Activities Licensing Authority accredited provider, you are safe in the knowledge that when you book a kayaking trip with Active Outdoor Pursuits, you will receive experienced and knowledgeable guides who ensure your safety and enrich your adventure. Our team of qualified instructors undergoes regular training and certification to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.

We supply all necessary kayaking equipment, including kayaks, paddles, and safety gear, although you should bring your own personal towel, swimwear, and dry shoes. Our training is tailored to your skill level, ranging from basic to advanced, ensuring you are well-prepared for the waters. Throughout the trip, we provide comprehensive support, taking care of all logistical arrangements, allowing you to fully enjoy the experience.

Contact us to find out more about the kayaking experiences we offer. And, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the area, why not check out Craigower Lodge?

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