River Tay Descent
Grantully - River Tay © Active Outdoor Pursuits

Loch Tay & River Tay Descent

From £495 per adult

Departure days

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

May — September

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The Loch & River Tay canoe descent journeys from the central highlands of Killin down to Perth, Lowland Scotland. Passing through Perthshire’s most beautiful countryside the River Tay is Scotland’s largest volume river.

It’s a diverse journey crossing the 23 kilometres of Loch Tay under the shadow of Ben Lawers and entering the River Tay at Kenmore. In addition to the river journey you can visit historic sites of interest, Crannog centre and the Cathedral at Dunkeld.

Important Information / Grade & Experience

The river Tay canoe descent is a 5 day and 4 night paddling 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. The open waters of Loch Tay can be tough in windy conditions but can be sailed making it relatively relaxing. The white water sections are mainly fun and straight-forward. River skills can be picked up as the journey progresses downstream and gets progressively more challenging. There are a couple of grade 2 or 2/3 rapids, however these can be inspected and portaged easily. No previous experience is required for the river tay canoe descent however we do recommend some previous paddling or white water experience. We can offer 1 or 2 day canoe skills courses prior to your trip is you wish.


Killin to Eilean nam Ban-naomh

Our journey begins at the east end of Loch Tay at the picturesque village of Killin, famous for the Falls of Dochart which flow through the village into Loch Tay. We hope to take advantage of Scotland’s dominant westerly winds to enable us to sail down the loch beneath the mighty Ben Lawers, towering some 1200 meters above us. As we approach Kenmore we will visit the Crannog – an ancient dwelling built over the loch dating back some 5,000 years. We will make camp on the lovely island, opposite the Crannog, of Eilean nam Ban-naomh, ‘Isle of Holy Women’ with its 12th century remains of a nunnery and castle.


Eilean nam Ban-naomh to Grandtully

A day steeped in history. We take a short paddle to the mainland and take time to stroll through the village of Kenmore with its old buildings and Scotland’s oldest Inn built in 1572. Here you can still see a poem written and inscribed in pencil on the fireplace by Robert Burns himself during a visit to Kenmore in 1787. Continuing down river we soon come to the Chinese falls – a fun grade 2 rapid. Beyond here we pass Taymouth castle built in 1862. The next few miles contain some fun minor rapids before reaching Aberfeldy. Here we paddle under Wade’s bridge, built by General Wade in 1733, to help connect his military road network used to suppress the Scots. Beyond Aberfeldy we come to the best section of the river for white water; there are many grade 2 rapids before reaching the grade 3 Grandtully rapid which can be easily portaged if preferred. We will camp here for the night.


Grandtully to Dunkeld

You will have the chance this morning to run the Grandtully rapid one more time before heading off towards Dunkeld. The next section is quieter with occasional gentle rapids as the valley floor widens and the river merges with the River Tummel. We soon reach the historic town of Dunkeld where we will camp tonight and take some time to see the Cathedral built between 1260 and 1501. The streets around the cathedral is where the battle of Dunkeld took place in 1689 between the Jacobites and a government regiment of Covenanters.


Dunkeld to Inchtuthill

Today we travel through the farmlands and forests of the Tay valley but before heading off we will take a short walk to the Hermitage and the Falls of Braan. This forest is home to Britain’s tallest trees – these mighty Douglas Firs stand over 200 feet high and are protected by the National Trust for Scotland. Further down river the scenery changes dramatically – as we pass Caputh the scenery becomes more like a sea estuary for a while. This area is home to thousands of nesting birds. At Inchtuthill we can see the remains of an ancient roman fortress built by Agricola in 82AD as an advance base in his campaign against the Caledonian tribes. We will make camp at a convenient site in this area.


Inchtuthill to Perth

Our final day and another day of diversity. This section flows through stretches of steep tree-lined banks. where it meanders for a couple of miles until we reach its confluence with the River Isla, flowing down from the Angus Glens. For those of us who enjoy white water paddling, the next 8 miles contains a succession of fun grade 2 rapids – a great experience on our last day. The final few miles to Perth are more gentle; our routes passes Scone Palace – once the crowning place of Scottish Kings and home to the Stone of Destiny. The final few miles flow gently into Perth where this mighty river system meets the North Sea.

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 River & Loch Tay Canoe Descent Itinerary to ensure group safety.

Depart Craigower Lodge on day one at 8am

Return to Craigower 5pm

Contact details

Active Outdoor Pursuits
Craigower Lodge
Golf Course Road
PH20 1AT

Key facilities

Accessible Parking and Dropoff Disabled Parking
Aberfeldy, Loch Tay and Glen Lyon Aviemore Newtonmore
Kayak Minibus
Bespoke Private Small Group (1-16)
Canoeing/Kayaking Outdoor Activities

Tour prices


  • £495 Per Adult
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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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