The Scottish Highlands Website
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Many people do not immediately associate boating with the Scottish Highlands; however, with over 30,000 lochs, the Caledonian Canal, and miles of coastline, boating is a natural activity for locals and visitors alike. Imagine sailing around the Summer Isles off the west coast of the Scottish Highlands; or sea kayaking and viewing the multitude of sea caves, geos, and sea stacks that surround the Northern Highland coast; or peacefully enjoying a serene loch in a rowboat while fishing for salmon or trout; or hiring a canal boat and traveling the length of the Great Glen and Caledonian Canal in comfort and style. A wide range of boating activities awaits you in the majestic, scenic Scottish Highlands.
Sea cruises are a popular way of getting to view the Scottish Highlands from a different angle. For a half-day, a full day, or longer, you can choose from all kinds of commercial and chartered sea cruises. Wildlife cruises are especially good activities for families and groups, and give you the opportunity to see dolphins and porpoises, seals, puffins, and even whales. Other cruises will take you around uninhabited islands and close in to coastlines dotted with sea stacks, caves, geos, and gloups (blow holes leading down into caverns carved out by the sea). Sea bird cliffs are favourite sights of birdwatchers and wildlife lovers, and they abound in the north. You will have the opportunity to sea arctic skuas, storm petrels, guillemots, puffins, razorbills, and kittiwakes as well as other types of wildlife on these exhilarating cruises. Hebridean Whale Cruises leave out of Gairloch and are the only mainland cruise provider to take you to the Shiant Islands, a small group of islands in the Minch between Skye and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Glass-bottomed boat cruises, sea-angling cruises, and shellfish safaris are other options for those longing to get out on the seas surrounding the Highlands of Scotland. Of course, ferries are almost like sea cruises as they take you past breath-taking scenery on your way to the outer islands, Orkney, or even Shetland. There are a number of ferry companies operating out of the Highlands, and you can book passage to places like Iona and Mull, Harris and Lewis, Orkney, and Shetland, all from ports along the north and west coasts.
Canoeing, kayaking, and sea kayaking are extremely popular here in the Scottish Highlands, and there are many centres which offer both lessons and outings in these exciting water sports. You can learn tandem and solo skills with a traditional canoe, then take a journey through the rivers and lochs of the stunning Highlands. Kayaking is more suited to rougher water, and you can learn the basics of kayaking, including a solid roll, then move from flat water to rapids on some of the most beautiful rivers in the world. Sea kayaking gives you the opportunity to learn basic kayaking skills on flat water, with little in the way of waves and rapids. It is the perfect opportunity to paddle the coastline and see amazing wildlife, with the chance to advance to rougher water skills and tidal streams. All of these options are for people who want to get out onto the water in small craft free from engines and learn to rely on their own skills.
The over 30,000 lochs of Highland Scotland offer spectacular opportunities for water sports and boating. Whether you enjoy touring the lochs as a passenger, piloting your own craft, or paddling in a canoe, kayak or rowboat, Highland lochs offer a wide range of boating activities which will make your visit a memorable one. Many cruises and charters tour the larger lochs, like Loch Ness and Loch Lomond, as well as the myriad sea lochs that make up the rugged coastline of the Scottish Highlands. Boating holidays are another option for those who can’t get enough of the beautiful waters of Scotland. You can charter a sailboat, cabin cruiser, or narrowboat / barge for cruising down the Caledonian Canal, through the lochs, or along the coastline. Many loch cruises run for just an hour or so for those who would like a taste of boating on the Highland lochs. You can step aboard a sightseeing cruise and wind up viewing castles, islands, and wildlife while sitting comfortably and enjoying a hot drink or light snack.
Sailing is quite popular in certain Highland regions, and there are both lessons and charters available for those who wish to sail the seas and lochs. You can find sailing courses, yacht charters, and sailing daytrips, as well as sailing holidays along the Scottish Highland coast. Scotland’s coastline is rich and varied, comprised of sea lochs, mountains, islands, and beaches. It is the perfect cruising area with a mixture of calm water and more challenging adventures. The coastline of the Scottish Highlands has been a haven for sailors for hundreds of years. Few places in the world can offer the pristine, unspoilt environment and fresh, crisp air of the Scottish Highlands, and they continue to draw sailors and boaters from around the world. Expect to see amazing scenery, wildlife, and plenty of shore-side facilities for boaters. Particularly popular with sailors are the Western Isles, Summer Isles, and on the east coast, Lossiemouth, Helmsdale, and Wick. If your dream is sailing, set sail in the Scottish Highlands today.
Whatever type of watercraft you enjoy, it is available in the Scottish Highlands. There is such an abundance of water—rivers, lochs, sea lochs, and coastal water—that boating is a natural choice when visiting the Highlands. You will find everything from short one-hour cruises to week-long adventures, both along the lochs and canals and out at sea. Water and boating have been a part of Highland life since the beginning of time—with a history of sailors and navigators visiting the Scottish Highlands from Ireland, Scandinavia, Iceland, and Orkney and Shetland. Sea fishing has always been a major industry here. With a past like that, it is no wonder boating is so prevalent. So, enjoy another view of the glorious Scottish Highlands and get out on the water today!
The numerous Scottish Lochs and rivers in the Scottish Highlands, some open to the sea are a great place for boating whether hiring a motor boat, Canoe, Kayak, Rowing boat, or chartering a larger vessel, Scotland contains some of the most beautiful scenery for boating. Escape the hectic pace of life and enyoy the peace and tranquility of boating in the Scottish Highlands.
Here at Morar Sands, just south of Mallaig, yatchsmen and alike moor to relax on the white sands that stretch along the coastline, making this idyllic location a perfect Scottish Highlands location in which to enjoy boating.
Further south at Connel, the Scottish evening rewards the onlooker with spectacular sunsets around the Highlands, a regular scene when boating during the summer months across this stretch of sea loch that stretches from Oban to Etive in Taynuilt.