Watersports in the Highlands

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Download your copy of the Active in Scotland 2014 - 2015 brochure.
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View the official guide to adventure activities in Scotland

  • A windsurfer standing on the edge of Loch Morlich, Glenmore National Park
    Loch Morlich Water Sports Centre, Glenmore National Park
  • Two kayakers navigate round the Bowfiddle Rock at Portknockie, Moray
    Seakaying at the Bowfiddle Rock, Portknockie, Moray
  • Two surfers walk ashore at the O'Neill Highland Open at Brims Ness, east of Thurso
    The O'Neill Highland Open at Brims Ness, east of Thurso

With its surging mountain burns, sheltered inland lochs, sea lochs and bays, the Highlands offers the ideal setting for a watersports adventure. Whether you’re just finding your sea legs aboard a kayak, or are an expert surfer looking to catch the best waves, there’s an excellent range of watersports activities and centres to choose.

The area around Strathspey is a great location if you’re looking to learn the basics of windsurfing and kayaking, with Loch Morlich, Loch Insh and Loch Spey providing great opportunities to get out and experience the water. Loch Morlich, situated high in the pinewoods, is just one of the areas where visitors can enjoy tuition, or if you’re already comfortable with the water, you can also hire equipment to venture out on your own.

For more of a challenge, explore the stunning landscape of the Highlands by sea kayak. Head off for a water-based adventure on the west coast, such as exploring the waters round the Isle of Raasay off the coast of Skye. It’s an area inaccessible by road, but possible by kayak, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views.

On the other side of the country, the Moray Firth, which extends to around 500 miles of coastline, is a hotspot for kayakers who can combine their love of the water with a bit of wildlife watching, so look out for the dolphins playing off the coast. The coastline is also popular with sailing enthusiasts.

For white-water rafting look no further than the River Garry and River Findhorn which each boast excellent rapids. The Highlands is also a paradise for surfers. Thurso, in the north east is the country’s surfing capital and hosts the Scottish National Surfing Championships. It offers fast reef and beach breaks, while the east beach of Lossiemouth is another popular spot for surfers

Canoeing is great way to explore the Highlands and offers visitors an amazing close up view of the landscape and local wildlife. A dawn Canadian canoe trip through the impressive Aigas Gorge on the River Beauly near Inverness is difficult to beat.

No canoeing trip to the Highlands is complete without following the Great Glen Canoe Trail, the first of its kind in Scotland. Paddle the 60 miles along the Caledonian Canal from Corpach, Fort William, to Inverness and soak up the scenery and amazing wildlife along the way.

Whatever watersports interest you, a visit to the Highlands guarantees an excellent water-based adventure.