Scotland Paddle Boarding Expedition
Great Glen SUP Expedition with Happiest When Outdoors
2023 Trip dates:
Arrival Day - Saturday 27th May 2023
Expedition Days - 28th May to 1st June 2023
Departure Day - Friday 2nd June 2023
Accommodation: Bunkhouse + Camping.
6/6 spaces available
We will be paddling 12 to 15 miles each day and kit will need to be carried between each canal lock. The longest canal lock portage is at Fort Augustus at 750m.
The Great Glen Trail is an epic journey crossing Scotland using the Caledonian Canal system that connects Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. Paddling from Fort William to Inverness (or vice versa depending on wind), we’ll journey through the Scottish Highlands for 60 miles (95km) , camping each night on the banks of the lochs.
Day 1 - Arrival Day:
We will meet you at a bunkhouse just outside of Fort William where we will have an afternoon of admin. This gives us a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, have a pub dinner and then get a good night's sleep before starting our expedition the following day.
Day 2 - Expedition Begins - Banavie to Loch Lochy:
Our journey begins at Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal. Taking a gentle paddle to get used to how our boards perform with a full expedition kit on them. Our first camp will be on the banks of Loch Lochy, allowing plenty of time to set up camp so everyone can work out how camp life will work on the expedition.
Day 3 - Loch Lochy to Loch Oich:
These are two of our favorite lochs to paddle on, with spectacular views. Wild camping will be in a secluded spot just after Invergarry Castle on the shores of Loch Oich.
Day 4 - Loch Oich to Loch Ness:
Finishing Loch Oich we will head down the Caledonian Canal to Fort Augustus and although we will have to portage every lock, we will be rewarded with scrumptious cake at a lovely cake shop before starting our journey to our first campsite on Loch Ness.
Day 5 - Loch Ness:
Today we continue our journey down Loch Ness taking in all the views including Urquhart Castle. The end of this day will be our final night of camping.
Day 6 - Final Day of Paddling - Loch Ness to Inverness:
The end is in sight! Our final day of paddling on Loch Ness, we will pack up camp and take a leisurely paddle to the end in Inverness. Here we will load up the van and head back to the bunkhouse for a hot shower, pub dinner and a good night sleep before you start the journey home the following morning.
Day 7 - Departure Day:
Wake up after a good night sleep with great memories to help you make the journey home.
Arrival Day - we will meet at a local bunkhouse where we will be able to sort out kit, get to know each other and have a good night's sleep before starting our expedition. Check in will be at 16:00pm on Sunday 26th June 2022.
On Expedition - each night we will be camping on the banks of the lochs. We will have access to toilet facilities at the canal locks and some camp spots have compost toilets.
Don’t own a tent? Not a problem. We do have a few that can be borrowed (you will however need to bring your own sleeping bag and mat). Everyone will need access to their own tent unless they are from the same household and are happy to share together. Full kit list will be emailed to you after booking.
Final Day - when we finish our expedition, we will head back to the bunkhouse we stayed at on the arrival day. There’ll be nice warm showers, a trip to the pub for a meal and then a chance for a good night's sleep before the long drive home the following day. Check out will be 10:00am on Saturday 2nd July 2022
During the expedition we will provide you with 4 breakfasts and 4 dinners. You will need to provide yourself with lunches and snacks. The meals we provide will be dehydrated meals to give you that real expedition feel. There will be opportunities during the expedition to eat out at restaurants and cafes, but these will be at your own expense. We can help you with lunch ideas and will arrange a pre-trip meeting either in person or over zoom to discuss topics like this and share ideas on how to pack light.
You don't need your own paddle boarding kit to join us on this trip as we do have kit available for you to use. If you are planning to bring your own paddleboard it needs to be appropriate for paddling long distances in chop and be able to carry expedition kit. If you are unsure if your board is suitable for this trip, get in contact with us. You must have a coiled leash and buoyancy aid/PFD. Full kit list will be emailed to you after booking.
How to get to Scotland:
Drive - you will be able to park your car at the start point of our expedition, we will then arrange a taxi back to your vehicle at the end.
Train - there is a sleeper train that travels from London to Fort William (Caledonian Sleeper). We will then collect you from the train station.
Fly - this is an option but there will be a small fee from us to collect you from the airport. Best place to fly into is Glasgow.
What’s included in the price:
5 days SUP Guiding
2 nights bunkhouse accommodation.
4 breakfasts + 4 dinners on expedition
Camping equipment e.g. stove and cooking pots.
100l rucksack style dry bag.
McConks 12.8 paddle board, carbon paddle, buoyancy aid & safety equipment.
Taxi at the end of the expedition back to the bunkhouse.
Photos and videos from the trip.
What’s not included in the price:
Transport to and around Scotland.
Meals on arrival and departure days
Any meals where we eat out at a restaurant or café.
Car parking fees
Personal travel insurance
Joshua Telling (Rapid Skills) + Kathy Marston (Happiest When Outdoors)
Covid-19 - if the trip cannot go ahead due to government restrictions we will postpone the trip to a later date or offer full refunds.
During this time of year there will be midges, we will advise you on nets and repellants for the trip.
We will make every effort to paddle board the Great Glen but if conditions are unsafe we may need to paddle board at alternative locations.
(deposit £200 - non refundable )