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Great Glen Canoe Trail
Great Glen © Active Outdoor Pursuits

Great Glen Canoe Trail

From £59 per adult

Departure days

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S

May — September

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The Great Glen Way Canoe Trail is one of Scotland’s classic & most challenging/rewarding canoe journeys. A geographical fault line forms the Great Glen Way splitting Scotland in two. Steeped in history and folklore tales.

The journey starts in Fort William on the Caledonian Canal before entering the open water of 3 Scottish Lochs; Lochy, Oich and Ness. You may even catch a glimpse of Nessie!

Important Information / Grade & Experience

The Great Glen Way Canoe trail is a 5 day and 4 night journey. By their very nature journeys on the water can be affected by weather and other environmental factors. Your guide/s may have to alter the itinerary to ensure group safety. 

This trip is moderately challenging on mainly open lochs though depending on skill level, sections of the River Oich and the River Ness may be paddled. This canoe trail is suitable for water-confident people with little or no experience. We can offer 1 or 2 day canoe skills courses prior to this classic Canoe Journey in Scotland if you wish.


Fort William – Gairlochy

Our journey begins at Neptune’s Staircase, a series of canal locks rising up from the sea at Fort William, under the shadow of Scotland’s highest mountain Ben Nevis. This short section will give us some time to focus on efficient paddling techniques as well as discussion on safety points for the journey ahead. We paddle 8 miles along the canal to our first camp at Gairlochy.


Gairlochy – Loch Oich

We leave the peaceful waters of the Caledonian canal and join Loch Lochy. For some, this is the most spectacular section of the journey as the mountains of Meall Na Teanga and Sron a Choire Gairbh rise straight up from the shores. This beautiful 12 mile paddle North will get you into the spirit of the journey. At Laggan Locks we rejoin the canal system for a short 2 mile section before entering Loch Oich and our 2nd camp site.


Loch Oich – Fort Augustus

We will visit the monument of the Well Of The Seven Heads with its dark murderous past. Paddling up Loch Oich with the mountains soaring in every direction, we wind our way up through the little islands, passing the ruins of Invergarry castle once occupied by the chiefs of the Clan MacDonnell. On reaching the next section of the Caledonian Canal, water levels allowing, we may have the choice to paddle the River Oich (grade 2) which takes us all the way to Loch Ness and Fort Augustus with its Abbey, canal locks and range of traditional cafes and pubs.


Fort Augustus – River Ness

As we continue our journey northwards, and given favourable conditions, we hope to be able to sail our canoes the remaining 12 miles or so of Loch Ness. As we look back to the South, we can marvel at the distance covered. Soon we reach the peaceful Loch Dochfour with the remains of Aldourie Castle on our left. Further on we reach the junction of the Caledonian canal and the River Ness. We will set up our last camp at the entrance to the canal.


River Ness – Inverness

Our final day and a decision must be made! We have the choice of finishing along the canal or, for the more adventurous, the final few miles have some fun rapids where we can give you some tips on white water technique. The journey ends with a beautiful run through the Ness Island rapids – Grade 1/2. Once through here, we float into Inverness with the Castle above. Now we can celebrate with a round of drinks.

Note – By their very nature journeys in remote or mountainous country can be affected by weather and other environmental factors. Your guide/s may have to alter the itinerary to ensure group safety.

Pre-departure: arrive at Cairngorms Adventure Centre evening before departure

Day 1: Depart Cairngorms Adventure Centre 9am

Pick up in Fort William 10am

Drop off in Inverness around 4pm

Return to Craigower 5pm

*Hostel, hotel or guest house accommodation can be available on this trip as an alternative to camping. This is not included in the price and dependent on availability. Please ask for details

Contact details

Active Outdoor Pursuits
Craigower Lodge
Golf Course Road
PH20 1AT

Key facilities

Accessible Parking and Dropoff Disabled Parking
Aviemore Fort William Newtonmore
Kayak Minibus
Bespoke Medium Group (17-30) Private Small Group (1-16)
Canoeing/Kayaking Outdoor Activities

Tour prices


  • £59 Per Adult
Book now

Prices are subject to change depending on season


Tour company information

Active Outdoor Pursuits

Active Outdoor Pursuits, born in 1999, is one of the most established providers of outdoor activities, education and training in Scotland. We have developed our facilities & services to provide a comprehensive and dynamic approach to supporting people of all ages and experience to realise their outdoor adventure dreams and ambitions. We offer a wide range of outdoor activities and, we can offer packages and holidays to suit all outdoor tastes. Looking for an outdoor adventure or holiday? Then you've come to the right place!

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