A Guide to Kayaking in Scotland

A Guide to Kayaking in Scotland

mirrored water


Kayaking in Scotland is so popular because of its diverse waters, whether you are looking for a thrilling white water experience or a gentle paddle on the waters of one of the famous lochs. Scotland is now seen as one of the top destinations for kayaking in the UK due to the vast choice of waters combined with its spectacular scenery.

There are three different types of kayaking; flat water, white water and sea kayaking – and Scotland is able to cater for them all. Many of our customers are looking to go kayaking in Scotland and ask us for the best places to go, so we’ve compiled a guide to help you out.


White water kayaking


Scotland has some excellent white water, perfect for kayaking, but knowing where and when to find it can be a challenge. To find out more about the conditions for white water kayaking in Scotland, check out Where’s The Water, a website which collates data from SEPA on river levels and provide kayakers with up to date information and advice.

The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the most popular destination for white water kayaking in Scotland. You will want to head to Grandtully near Aberfeldy for the best parts of the river. Luckily, the very handy SCA campsite is located just a few minutes from the Grandtully rapids.

For the best white water kayaking experience, we recommend signing up to one of the many courses and excursions around Scotland.  Take a look at Freespirits and the National Kayak School for availability.


 Sea kayaking


There are hundreds of places to go sea kayaking in Scotland, but a good place to start is the Sea Kayaking Trail, which runs from the Isle of Gigha up towards Ullapool. At 500km, the trail is long distance but the guidebook has been split up so you can tackle just one or two sections.

If you would rather attempt something a little less challenging, the Great Glen trail is another popular choice. This 60km trail takes kayakers from the base of Ben Nevis at Fort William across a series of rivers, lochs and canals through to Inverness in the east of Scotland. Boots ‘n’ Paddles is a great place for kayak equipment hire in the nearby area.

There are a few campsites along the way for those looking to get their head down, try out Gairlochy Holiday Park in Fort William, Cumberlands Campsite in Fort Augustus and Bught Park in Inverness.

In the other direction, in Arisaig in the West Highlands, you can hire a kayak from Sea Kayak Highlands to explore the islands and lochs. Hire from a half-day right through to a week, so they’re suitable whether you’re looking for a short paddle or a full holiday.


Flat water kayaking


As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to go kayaking in Scotland, but if you are relatively new to the sport, flat water kayaking is often the preferred choice.

The Forth & Clyde Canal is a favourite for paddling as it is suitable for both beginners and the more experienced. For the best places to start, head to the east end of the canal around Falkirk. Although it is possible to complete the canal in one day, most like to make a short break out of it and take advantage of their position to take in the spectacular scenery.

Fancy kayaking in Scotland? Contact us today to book your Rockin’van.