Explorers Connect

Canoe Across Scotland
Monday 4th - Friday 8th May 2020

This fantastic coast to coast journey takes you through the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Starting in the west at Fort William, you'll follow the Caledonian Canal east to Inverness crossing Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the world famous Loch Ness.


Our hugely popular, week-long adventure will see you spending full days travelling in open canoes - in pairs to make lighter work - and at night you'll pull up to remote and scenic loch-side locations to wild camp in tents and savour meals cooked over wood fires. Throughout the week you'll also develop new expedition and wilderness travel skills, and along the journey your experienced and highly qualified guides will teach you how to get the best out of your canoe including efficient paddling techniques. When the opportunities arise you'll also get the chance to rig a sail in your canoe to catch the wind and make the journey easier!

All food throughout the expedition is included as well as canoes, paddling, safety and camping equipment and you'll get to be transported to the start point. This journey is open to beginners and suitable for most but you will require a good level of fitness as you'll be self-powering your canoe for five days.

EC adventures are informal, friendly and great fun! They're made up of singles, couples and small sets of friends with ages typically ranging from mid 20s to mid 40s but anyone over 18 years old and young at heart is welcome. Whether it's your first time exploring the outdoors or you're an adventure professional, EC adventures are a great way to meet like-minded people in a safe, welcoming and fun environment.


The sixty mile route includes paddling on sections of man-made canal and across stunning Scottish lochs.

Day 1 - You'll meet up with your guides at the finish point, the head of Loch Ness, near Inverness where you'll be able to park your car for the week if needed. You'll load your equipment onto the minibuses and travel to Fort William to the start of the Great Glen Canoe Trail. After an important safety briefing you'll head off along the canal to Gairlochy canoeing in the shadow of the mighty Ben Nevis before making a short portage out onto Loch Lochy where you'll spend your first night.

Day 2 - After breakfast you'll head off along Loch Lochy to Laggan where you'll stop for lunch. There are toilets and showers here for those who want them. You then head along a short but beautiful canal section to Loch Oich, the smallest of the three lochs to your second waterside campsite.

Day 3 - On leaving the campsite you'll continue your journey towards Loch Ness by canal reaching the highest part of the trip 'the watershed' at Fort Augustus where there are showers and even shops! If the wind is suitable you'll build a raft from the canoes and sail across Loch Ness (keep your hands out of the water!) Half way across you'll stop at a wonderful remote location and make camp for the night.

Day 4 - After breakfast it's back onto the loch either sailing or paddling. Weather permitting you'll cross over to the north to canoe under the walls of Urquhart Castle, a great place for lunch. By early evening you'll reach the end of Loch Ness for your final waterside camp.

Day 5 - After a short paddle you'll enter the River Ness where you'll spend your final hours on this grade two river using the skills you've learnt throughout the week before paddling to the head of Loch Ness. Why not stay the night and explore nearby Inverness.

Please be aware that the route can be affected by weather conditions and changes to the itinerary may be needed to ensure both a successful and a safe adventure.


You'll be wild camping on the shores of some of Scotland's most beautiful lochs. You'll need to bring your own tent, sleeping bag and mat but you're welcome to share your tent with a friend (or stranger!) if you want to save space in your boat. All meals are included and everyone gets involved with the campsite cooking whether it's collecting wood for the fire, preparing food or washing up. Be aware that as you won't be able to easily store meat (there are no fridges in the canoes!) the menu is made up predominantly of vegetarian dishes. We would recommend that you bring your own snacks as you'll want to keep your energy up while you're paddling. There are plenty of opportunities along the route to fill up with drinking water.


Getting to Inverness is easier than you might think with daily flights from London, Bristol, Manchester and many other UK airports. You can also take the Caledonian Sleeper, one of only two overnight train services in the UK departing London, Watford and Crewe in the evening and arriving right in the heart of Inverness the following morning. You will then need to make your way to the start point near Loch Ness. **Note about transfers being optional add on.**


This adventure involves five consecutive days of paddling around 96km (60 miles) in total. No previous canoeing experience is required but you should be of an average or better fitness level. You'll be working in pairs to make lighter work and using the wind to assist you. The Monday and Friday are typically half days with three full days of paddling in between. There'll be regular breaks in the day where you'll stop, light a fire and put the kettle on!


  • 5 days guided canoeing across magnificent, famous lochs and waterways with two experienced and qualified paddlesports experts

  • 5 days use of canoes and paddling equipment (each canoe seats two people)

  • All safety equipment needed throughout the expedition

  • All food and water throughout the expedition (excluding snacks)

  • 4 nights supervised wild camping in stunning loch-side locations

  • All group camping/cooking equipment - you just need to bring your tent, sleeping bag, roll mat and personal crockery/cutlery

  • Transport of the canoes to the start point and collection of the canoes at the end of the journey

  • Transport by minibus/taxi to the start point at Fort William


This adventure runs from Monday 4th to Friday 8th May 2020


We loved the sense of adventure and braving the elements... we were impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the instructors
Everyone had a ball... the scenery was spectacular and the canoeing such good fun!
The cooking, the service, the weather, the equipment, and the instructors knowing just about everything was top notch

If the trip is full, this button will take you to join the waiting list


If you'd like to know more about this weekend or have a particular question about this or any of our adventures, please email enquiries@explorersconnect.com or call the office on 0117 405 7497 during normal office hours and we'll do our best to help you.