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Caledonian Canal Canoe Trip

This is a classic canoe journey from coast to coast through the spectacular loch and river system of the Great Glen, including canoeing across Loch Ness. The adventure begins just outside Fort William on the easy, sheltered water of the Caledonian Canal. We then journey through a series of amazing lochs before finishing at Inverness on the other side of Scotland!

The journey includes some straightforward river and loch paddling and, if water levels are high enough, we may also run a couple of river stretches instead of following the canal. We may even sail rafted canoes if the wind conditions are favourable!

Throughout the expedition, coaching will be given to help you develop your paddling skills, so by the end of the route, you will not only have enjoyed a unique journey, you will also be a more competent canoeist.

Typical itinerary

Day 1
Our journey begins above Neptunes Staircase on the Caledonian Canal, a gentle introduction as we make our way through the first of several lock gates. A canoe trip up the Great Glen with its large areas of open water is dictated by wind conditions, but we plan to get onto Loch Lochy today, camping on the side.
Day 2
Todays section has the variety of Loch Lochy and a beautiful section of canal, before we reach Loch Oich. Our campsite tonight is on the grassy shore of Loch Oich.
Day 3
Now for the few miles up to Fort Augustus. Here we have the longest portage of the trip, then we can canoe out onto the mighty Loch Ness. We will continue up the loch to camp in the woodland below Invermoriston.
Day 4
Loch Ness is awesome in any weather conditions, so as we continue our journey we may be sailing or watching reflections of the steep mountains in mirror calm water. Urquhart Castle guards the bay into which we plan to paddle for our last nights camp, though there is always the option to continue further.
Day 5
From Urquhart Bay to Lochend is over a mile wide but before too long the end of the loch is in sight. After a few miles we will reach Loch Dochfour out of which flows the River Ness, which in turn flows through Inverness and out into the Beauly Firth. This is the end point of our memorable canoe trip through the Great Glen! After sorting our kit, we will head back to the cars at Fort William.

Level of difficulty

This canoe holiday is suitable for people with little or no experience of canoeing, as well as more experienced paddlers who wish to join a guided trip. All clients need to be fit enough to undertake 5 full days of activity, including some straightforward portages and 4 overnight camps.


We will be wild-camping on the shores of the Lochs for the 4 nights of this trip - dont bring your hairdryer!