With a fabulously long and diverse coastline, myriad of off-hore islands and hundreds of dazzling lochs, Scotland is easily one of the best locations in the world for sit on kayaking.
It is very difficult to choose a list of the best destinations for kayakers in Scotland but here we bring you our top six.
The Sound of Arisaig
Arisaig is an amazing spot on the sheltered shore of Loch nan Ceall (Loch of the Cells) on the west coast of Scotland. Paddling here is the nearest you’ll get to the Caribbean in Scotland! Imagine beautiful white sands and crystal clear turquoise waters. The coastline reveals lots of skerries (small rocky islands) for exploring by kayak and you might be lucky to spot dolphins, too.
It’s difficult to choose one spot in the Outer Hebrides to recommend over another spot! This wonderful chain of islands off the north-west coast of Scotland is home to some of the most fabulous beaches in Scotland, a wealth of wildlife and some of the most welcoming people, too. So, let’s recommend a beautiful route from Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris to the tiny island of Taransay. (Taransay is famous as the island where TV programme Castaway 2000 was filmed.) Paddling here, you’ll discover delightful sea caves, amazing sandy beaches and waters that “wow”. The trip is best taken when the sun is out, but even on an overcast day the sea and landscape will take your breath away.
Located between Oban and Fort William, paddling here takes you on a wonderful journey around the spectacular Castle Stalker, and to the islands of Shuna and Lismore. This is a very scenic trip in sheltered water and the options to explore Lismore, which boasts lots of historic relics.
Located in gorgeous Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands, Loch Maree is home to many islands and because it’s an inland loch, there are no worries about tidal waters. The loch can be choppy, however, so it’s important to think about your ability before setting out to paddle this kayaking playground. The loch is acclaimed as one of the most scenic in Scotland with numerous tree-covered islands and a fantastic landscape backdrop of the Highlands. Look out for sea and white-tailed eagles, as well as crossbill and black-throated divers. But also be aware that many birds nest on Loch mare and it is important to take care when paddling.
Located close to Lochaber, which is part of the area acclaimed as the Outdoors Capital of the UK, Loch Moidart is a paddling heaven on earth. You can kayak along the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail here. Launch at Castle Tioram and begin your trip to either the north or south side of the pretty island of Eilean Shona. This isle was once leased to famous children’s author J M Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan. Caribbean style waters and white sandy beaches offer a wealth of exploration by sit-on kayak and you should keep your eyes on the land for spotting deer.
The Summer Isles
A paddling trip to Scotland is not complete until you have visited the Summer Isles, situated in the far north-west Highlands. This is a paddling haven and comes with all the benefits of a remote-style adventure. Peace, tranquillity, solitude and amazing scenery, including arches to paddle beneath, caves, sandstone cliffs, lagoons and plenty of overnight spots on uninhabited islands are al part of your paddling days. The backdrop is sometimes fabulous seas heading out as far as the eye can see and sometimes the eye-catching Assynt hills.