Paddling the washing machine on the river Spey

© Jim Miller

River Spey

Spey Descent Paddleboarding (SUP) 5 Day Expedition

Experience the thrill of a lifetime on a 5 day camping River Spey Sup Descent Adventure Journey. Explore the stunning Scottish Highlands from a new perspective.


The stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) River Spey descent journey is a unique adventure that offers an unforgettable experience for participants. This SUP expedition is a must do for anyone up on holiday in the Aviemore & Cairngorms area and is a true classic Scottish journey. This journey involves paddling down the River Spey on a SUP, taking in the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands while navigating through rapids and eddies. This is one of if not the most classic river descent in the whole of the UK and as an absolute must do for any adventurer. 

Participants will receive expert instruction and guidance from experienced guides (most likely Jim & Emy – Emy run’s her own business as well so if we can’t get dates for your group we would recommend her as the next port of call), who will tailor the trip to suit the abilities of each participant. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler, the journey will challenge you physically and mentally while providing a fun and exhilarating experience.

The journey includes all the technical equipment, including boards, paddles, and safety gear, and participants will stay in comfortable accommodation in the heart of the Scottish Highlands..

The River Spey Sup Descent journey is perfect for anyone looking for a unique adventure that combines the thrill of white water rapids with the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. It’s an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself physically and mentally while experiencing the natural beauty of Scotland in a whole new way. With expert guidance, stunning scenery, and an eco-friendly approach, this journey is not to be missed.

Here follows a five day itinerary broken down day by day for your River Spey Sup Descent.

Day 1 – Here we meet at 10:00 in the morning and check through all the kit – if people need to pick up any food supplies there is a co-op in the village. We put on the water at Newtonmore Bridge and work our way along the upper reaches of the Spey taking in some gentle introductory moving water paddling past Kingussie and down onto Loch Insh where we make camp on the side of the Loch.

Day2 – For those who like coffee, there is a cafe on the shore of Loch Insh which we can easily stop at in the morning before getting back into our wetsuits and heading on down river all the way to Aviemore where we will make camp either just before or after within walking distance of the town in case anyone wishes to go for a relaxing beer or chippy in the evening.

Day3 – From Aviemore, we will head down the river again taking in the tranquil water between here and Grantown where we may see Ospreys flying overhead and have a great opportunity to camp up just before or after Grantown where we can easily nip into town again if anyone wants a beer, curry or chippy.

Day4 – Here we navigate the most commonly paddled section of the Spey from Ballindalloch to Craigellachie. this is often the favourite day of our River Spey Sup Descent. We take in the famous washing machine and Tamdhu rapids at grade 2+ which are an exhilarating experience before paddling down past Aberlour and underneath the Spey bridge which is a stunning architectural creation. Craigellachie is home to some great bars, including the Fiddichside inn which has an excellent selection of whisky for those who wish to try some true Scottish delicacies.

Day5 – Paddle from Craigellachie down past Rothes following some of the best flowing sections of the Spey all the way down to Spey Bay where we terminate this trip at the Dolphin Centre right on the coastline. Here we will look back on the five days and part our ways. We will have arranged a taxi for the end to bring you back to Newtonmore and will also organise it so any kit you didn’t bring with you is at the end waiting for you. Hopefully, you will be able to look back on the trip with fond memories of a true Scottish adventure expedition.

A 5 day River Spey Sup Descent (stand-up paddleboard) is an unforgettable experience that combines the thrill of white water rapids with the serene beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Here are a few reasons why you should consider embarking on a River Spey Sup Descent:

Why Should I do this?

Paddling down the River Spey on a SUP allows you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands. You’ll have a unique perspective of the landscape as you navigate through rapids, glide past lush forests and rolling hills, and soak in the natural beauty of the area. The Spey is one of the most famous rivers in Scotland for the fact it is the quickest flowing and also provides some of the nicest whisky around anywhere!

River Spey Sup Descent require physical stamina and agility, making them an excellent workout. Paddling through rapids, eddies, and currents requires core strength, balance, and quick reflexes. It’s an excellent way to challenge yourself physically and mentally while enjoying the thrill of adventure.

Our SUP coaches and instructors will provide instruction and guidance throughout the journey, ensuring your safety and helping you improve your skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, our guides will tailor the trip to your abilities and help you develop your SUP skills in a safe and supportive environment.

A River Spey Sup Descent is a unique adventure that offers a different perspective on the Scottish Highlands. It’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and experience something new and exciting.

In summary, a River Spey Sup Descent is a thrilling and unique way to explore the Scottish Highlands while challenging yourself physically and mentally. With expert guidance and stunning scenery, it’s an unforgettable adventure that you won’t want to miss.

What Should I Bring?

We pride ourselves on providing as much kit as possible for you.  However, the list below is what we recommend you should bring to your River Spey Sup Descent:

  • Something to go underneath a wetsuit – swimwear or a spare pair of underwear. (We do provide swimshorts to wear over the top of the wetsuit for greater style and modesty.)
  • Travel insurance. (We are insured for all our trips, but we recommend everyone has their own travel insurance as well.)
  • Transportation to the venue. (We may be able to help with this though – if you need transportation please drop us an enquiry and we can see what we can do to help.)
  • Lunch, water.
  • Personal medication
  • Sun cream, midge net
  • Tent
  • Roll Mat & Sleeping Bag
  • Headtorch
  • Warm layers & spare clothes
  • Food
  • Stove, Gas, Cutlery

What Is Provided?

Here at Highland Outdoor Adventures, we pride ourselves on providing as much as we can but you are welcome to bring your own equipment if you do prefer. The list below is what we provide you with on the River Spey Sup Descent.

  • Hala SUP’s -The world’s best Stand up Paddleboards – perfect for our Spey Descent SUP Journey.
  • Paddles.
  • Wetsuits
  • Buoyancy aids.
  • Helmets.
  • SUP leashes on a quick release belt.
  • Neoprene wetsuit boots.
  • Swimshorts to go over the top of wetsuits.
  • Dry bags so you can bring equipment you might want along with you.
  • Taxi back from the end to the start (if required).
  • All instruction.
  • All first aid and safety equipment.
  • Photographs of the trip provided for you at no extra cost! If the weather is good we will have a DSLR professional camera and maybe even a drone, so we can take photos and videos of your adventure and you can look back at the day for years to come. If the weather is less favourable we will bring a GoPro (as it is waterproof) so we will still be able to take photos for you.
  • Fully certified instructors who are the best in the country on a SUP

From £500 per adult

Departure days

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

April — October

Contact details

Highland Outdoor Adventures

Glenavon Cottage
Main Street

Key facilities

  • Parking

Tour information


  • Newtonmore


5 Days


  • Kayak


  • Bespoke
  • Private
  • Small Group (1-16)


  • English


  • Adventure
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Outdoor Activities

Tour prices

From £500 Per Adult

Book now

Prices are subject to change depending on season

Tour Stops

Highland Outdoor Adventures

Tour company information

Highland Outdoor Adventures

Looking for a fun and exciting adventure outdoor activity in the Highlands which will be a highlight of your holiday in Scotland? Or maybe you live here and want an outing on the rivers, lochs, sea, mountains or crags? Or perhaps you want to improve your skills, work to an assessment or take a qualification in paddling or climbing? Welcome to Highland Outdoor Adventures offering a range of climbing, walking and paddling options for individuals, groups and the whole family – including outings and courses for all levels (beginners through to experts).

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