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There is something mystical about quietly paddling across a loch deep in the magical Highlands of Scotland.  Surrounded by beauty and majesty, you will experience the Scottish Highlands like no other way when you go canoeing.  The lochs and rivers, and even the sea, provide stunning venues for your serene, sublime canoe trip.  You will be able to observe nature at its best, catching views of water birds, red squirrels, roe deer, red deer, and awesome birds of prey.  Many lochs in the Scottish Highlands are home to whooper swans.  Canoeing is wide ranging throughout the Highlands and you will enjoy everything from the tall Scots pines, paper birches, and poplars to bushy heather, gorse, and broom.  You might even spot a pine marten.  And depending upon where you go canoeing, you might just glimpse Nessie!

In Scotland, the word “canoe” will refer to both a kayak and an open boat, sometimes known as an American or Canadian canoe.  It’s important for visitors to understand this, as many folks from North America will expect an open boat when deciding to go canoeing and may be surprised to find themselves with a kayak!  Canoeing is a wonderful recreational water sport, and also offers opportunities for competition.  Canoeing goes back hundreds of years as a mode of travel and trade for ancient peoples on both sides of the Atlantic.  In Scotland, kayaking is the most popular form of canoeing, and involves sitting down in a closed or partially closed boat with a double-sided paddle.  Open boat canoeing is practiced kneeling or sitting and uses a single blade paddle.   If you prefer something a bit more relaxing, you might try an open boat which is suitable for slower flowing rivers, lochs, and canals.  Open boat canoeing is particularly popular on some of the bigger lochs, including Loch Lomond and lochs forming the Great Glen Waterway, of which Loch Ness is a part.  Loch Ba, in the middle of Rannoch Moor in the Highlands, is another lovely spot for very remote wilderness canoeing.  Canal networks, including the Caledonian Canal, are perfect for open boat canoeing and offer a great mode of travel from one accommodation destination to another.
For the more adventurous, kayaking is safe for running rapids and paddling through rough water or open seas.  Some of the best white water kayaking in Scotland is found in the Highlands.  The Roy, the Orchy, and the Etive rivers in the Glencoe and Fort William areas are excellent for kayaking in the west, and in the east, try the River Findhorn or the Feshie, near Aviemore.  If you decide to try sea kayaking, remember that the east coast of the Highlands tends to be a bit calmer, and also colder—you are in the North Sea, after all.  The west and north coasts of the Highlands offer beautiful sea lochs and rugged coastline, but the conditions can be a bit rougher, albeit warmer.  The coastlines of the Hebrides offer spectacular sea kayaking with amazing views of sea stacks, cliffs, and caves.
There are many adventure, outdoor, and activity centres which offer canoeing—both open boat and kayaking—for all levels of experience.  Most centres will provide lessons for first timers or for those who just feel unfamiliar with the area.  Equipment and safety gear can also be rented as well as the canoe itself.  There is a broad range of options on offer at these centres and you can choose whether you wish a training course, a paddle round for a few hours, a whole day trip, a weekend, or a canoeing holiday over a week or more.  Often, canoe journeys are combined walking / hiking / canoeing adventures and are perfect for that wilderness trip of a lifetime in the incredible Scottish Highlands.  Coast-to-coast trips and journeys through the Great Glen are particularly popular with canoeing enthusiasts.
Whatever type of canoe adventure you are looking for, you can find it here in the Highlands of Scotland.  With so many lochs and rivers, and an extensive coastline, the Scottish Highlands are the perfect spot for canoeing.  For that complete break with the everyday, get out into the majestic wilderness of Scotland and go on a canoeing adventure.  You will see incredible scenery, experience great exercise and fresh air, and feel recharged after your time in the remote wilderness of the Scottish Highlands.  Browse through our listings of outdoor and activity centres and book your canoeing adventure today!

The Highlands of Scotland offer many wide open spaces,wilderness and spectacular rivers and lochs to canoe down.The romantic beauty of the Scottish Highlands is experienced via mild whitewater rivers, such as the Spey, Orchy, and Tay, passing the Cairngorm Mountains, and travelling through Glencoe and majestic, historical Scottish areas of Loch Ness and Loch Awe.

You can hire an open top Canadian Canoe from many canoeing related locations, whether you require a gentle paddle through some beautifull country, more challenging canoeing or a longer canoeing camping trip, you will see wildlife and landscape rarely seen from the road.

You can also paddle to the sea around the Scottish Highlands, along the Caledonian Canal, travel to remote Islands and have the opportunity to enjoy several of the Highland’s most picturesque small towns and villages.

Canoeing is the perfect way to experience the Scottish Highlands, canoeing allows you to be in close contact with nature in a way not often experienced in modern life. There are a number of schools in the Scottish Highlands who will be able to train you in the art of canoeing.
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