In the final instalment of our dream kayaking locations we focus on the best the UK has to offer. All results were polled from our Go Pro competition and make for interesting reading ,proving what a diverse bunch they are…
Top 10 UK locations
With over 31,460 estimated freshwater lochs and lochans in Scotland, the amount of paddling options on these stretches of water is simply astounding. For such a small bit of land (relatively) in the north Atlantic, water is everywhere in Scotland.
Loch means lake or fjord in Gaelic and nearly every bit of standing water in this region uses the term. There are only a few spots called lakes.
The largest and deepest lochs you may have heard of before. In fact Loch Ness, which features a greater volume of water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined, is famous for being the home of the mythical Nessy (Loch Ness Monster). At 230m in total at its deepest point, Loch Ness holds a hell of a lot of water.
Loch Lomond is the second largest and possibly as well known an expanse of water as Loch Ness – definitely worth a punt when contemplating a kayaking mission.
Check out our location guide https://www.sitons.com/kayaklocation/milarrochy-bay-loch-lomond
Scottish lochs are perfect for those paddlers who wish to smash out the miles and cover distance. Likewise, if you’re the type that just likes a potter with minimal hazards then, at the right time of year, these stretches of water are perfect.
Being in the Northern Hemisphere and affected by a changeable climate means you still need to have an understanding of prevailing weather and how this can cause on water conditions to deteriorate, but with a little prior planning, paddling in this area can be extremely rewarding.
With the appropriate clothing it’s possible to kayak on the lochs all through the year. During harsh winter storms they’re probably best avoided, but when a calmer and milder period pops into view, there’s nothing stopping you grabbing your kit and heading for the Highlands.
Spring and early summer are magic times to be out paddling on Scottish lochs. During late summer and autumn mozzies tend to swarm about in some areas, which can be a bit of nuisance.
Paddling and camping in the Highlands is a fantastic experience as the scenery, surroundings and overall ambience makes for some unforgettable experiences.
Cornwall is the first and last county in England, depending on your point of view, and boasts some spectacular scenery with magnificent beaches to boot. In fact on their day, with the sun out and the breeze a gentle whisper you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a more exotic location.
Cornwall’s pedigree in watersports speaks for itself with surfing being a common pastime practiced on many beaches in the county. Kayaking is also a popular hobby with many forms of craft in abundance during the summer months.
Depending on what type of paddling you’re after will probably dictate the areas you head for.
The exposed west facing beaches are where you’ll find Atlantic surf, some of which can test even the most experienced on its day. There are though plenty of sheltered spots offering fantastic exploring opportunities. Inlets and estuaries provide good touring paddling, with the option of stopping off for a quick nibble or pint in one of the many waterside pubs you’ll find.
Waves, flat water, sea cliffs, caves, coves and amazing beaches are what’s on offer when you decide to paddle in Cornwall. With rivers few and far between you’ll almost definitely be kayaking on the open sea which can be extremely rewarding and diverse.
If you’re into the thrills and spills side of the sport then heading out when the swell is pumping will definitely give you a rush while on other occasions, during calmer periods, you’ll no doubt find yourself splashing about on perfectly flat water enjoying the picturesque views.
Paddling in Cornwall is fine all through the year, as long as you have a decent wetsuit or suitable attire. With a predominantly mild climate you can usually find a warm (ish) spell of weather, even in winter, for some kayaking antics.
Spring, summer and autumn are perfect for getting out for a float, the only thing to take into consideration is the inclement weather which can be changeable. Before setting off or hitting the surf it’s wise to know what the days forecast may bring, this way you won’t be caught out.
If you head to our where to kayak section then there’s plenty more information about Cornwall’s different paddling options https://www.sitons.com/wheretokayak/con/
The Lake District National Park nestles in the Cumbrian region of Britain, is the largest national park in England, and second largest in the whole of the UK. The Lakes boast the world renowned Windermere Lake (the biggest in the park) and Scaffel Pike, the highest English mountain peak.
With stunning scenery, the lakes and mountains of Cumbria serves up a breath taking location for paddlers looking for new places for a visit.
With a name like the Lake District, it comes as no surprise that the majority of your kayaking will take place on flat, fresh water lakes sitting in the shadows of the areas many peaks. Lake Windermere is the biggest expanse of water but there’s plenty of others to choose from, such as Coniston Water.
Dropping in at the bigger ponds is relatively easy whereas some of the smaller lakes may involve negotiating tricky launches and landings due to land ownership or other access issues.
Cumbria does have a few white water spots but you’ll have to go outside of the main Lakes area to find these. The main draw for many is paddling in relatively mellow conditions, depending on weather, while being surrounded by incredible beauty.
For visitors who want to combine their kayaking exploits with other activities the Lakes is a great choice. Walking, climbing and mountain biking options are all within easy reach of the main kayaking spots.
It’s perfectly plausible to hit the Lakes at any time of year for a spot of paddling but you need to be aware that winter features much harsher weather than in summer.
Lake water remains cold all year round but add to the mix severe wind-chill, the snow and ice of winter and you’ll need to come suitably prepared outside of high season.
During peak months the Lakes can get unbelievably busy with lots of visitors all with very different agendas. Traffic can be an issue at this time, as can parking. Watch out for increased volumes of boating vehicles on the bigger lakes as well at these times.
Check out our Cumbrian guide for additional information – https://www.sitons.com/wheretokayak/cma/
The remaining UK locations are…
Isle of Man
Dorset – Jurassic Coast