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Spey Descent
River Spey © Active Outdoor Pursuits

River Spey Canoe Descent

From £495 per adult

Departure days

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

May — September

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Scotland’s finest canoeing river tour (River Spey Descent) starts in the Cairngorms National Park. The River Spey is one of the most beautiful rivers in Britain, flowing through beautifully forested country and passing many famous distilleries.

With time on our side, we will pay a visit to at least one of them for a “wee dram” of Speyside malt. Premier salmon fishing and an abundance of wildlife around its banks makes the River Spey one of the best in Britain. The highlight however will surely be its many fun & exciting Grade II rapids and it’s spectacular end at Spey Bay.

Important Information / Grade & Experience

The River Spey descent is a 5 day and 4 night river 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. 

The Spey Descent is moderately challenging on mainly easy but fast flowing water. There are normally no portages required on this trip. It is suitable for water-confident people with little or no experience. We can offer 1 or 2 day canoe skills courses prior to your trip is you wish.


Kingussie to Aviemore

As we begin our journey we will take a little time to look at basic paddle strokes and provide some coaching if required. The upper section of the Spey meanders its way through The Insh marshes nature reserve and here you may spot red shanks, curlews and lapwings. We will also pass by Ruthven Barracks, an old military post used by English troops to suppress the Jacobite rebellion. Further down we reach Loch Insh where we may get a chance to put our the sails up. The River from here to Aviemore provides lots of easy and entertaining rapids, perfect for developing your river paddling skills.


Aviemore to Grantown on Spey

Along this section the river eases and meanders under the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains with fabulous views of distant Ben Macdui – Scotland’s second highest mountain. Also along this stretch we often catch sightings of various wildlife such as ospreys and otters and we may even see the old steam train that runs beside the river for a few miles.


Grantown on Spey to Ballindalloch

From here the pace of the river increases considerably and provides many enjoyable class II rapids. We journey ever seaward through native forests and woodlands, passing the old church at Cromdale through some fine salmon fishing beats onto our next overnight stop at Ballindalloch with its nearby castle and a number of distilleries.


Ballindalloch to Craigellachie

For lovers of white water this could be the highlight of your trip with many fun grade II rapids. This is also the heart of malt whisky country. We will pass famous names such as Knockando and Tamdhu and later we come to Aberlour – another fine whisky – and also home to the famous Walkers Shortbread Company. A few miles further and we reach camp at Craigellachie just above where Glen Fiddich meets the Spey. As a reward for all your efforts why not treat yourself to a tasty bar meal and a glass of this famous malt at the Highlander Inn.


Craigellachie to Spey Bay

After passing the village of Rothes the river takes us on to Fochabers, where the Baxter family business sits above the road bridge, heralding our approach to the coast. From here on you can smell the sea air and perhaps witness otters at play as we thread our way through the delta. Finally we paddle towards the rolling waves of Spey Bay where we are often greeted by sightings of dolphins. What better to cap it all off than a wee dram of Speyside Malt.

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.

Contact details

Active Outdoor Pursuits
Craigower Lodge
Golf Course Road
PH20 1AT

Key facilities

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

Tour prices


  • £495 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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