© Timex/AndrewMcCandlish


White water rafting in Scotland

Keen for a wet and wild challenge? Good - you've come to the right place! Challenge nature and your friends to an adrenaline filled day with a fantastic white water rafting experience in Scotland.

With awesome rivers, drops and rapids, Scotland is where it's at if you want to try the most thrilling white water rafting in Britain. Rafting can be enjoyed all year round in Scotland and has ideal opportunities for both first time rafters and adrenaline junkies.

What is white water rafting?

White water rafting is a watersports experience, involving a group of people, a raft and a river!
For the best white water rafting experience in Scotland, you'll:

  • Put on a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet
  • Climb into a custom-built raft with a small group
  • Sail down some wild but amazing rivers.

Your white water experience will be led by a trained, professional guide, so you can relax and enjoy the experience of being thrown around and soaked by the beauty and magic of Scotland's waters.

Best places to go white water rafting in Scotland

White Water Rafting Up-close
White water rafting in Perthshire © Timex / Andrew McCandlish

  • In the Cairngorms National Park, try the wild side of white water rafting on the mighty River Findhorn near Aviemore or River Tummel near Pitlochry.
  • The River Findhorn offers unparalleled scenery and thrilling rafting which sees you drop 500 ft over 18 miles. This is one of Scotland's last wild rivers and as a consequence rainfall and snow melt determine which sections can be run.
  • The River Tummel is affected by Scottish Hydro Electric's Clunie Dam, when the rapids are at their best over the 4-mile course. It ends with an amazing two-stage drop of 18 feet into Loch Faskally.
  • Still in Perthshire, head to the River Tay near Aberfeldy and raft the largest volume river in Scotland. The high water volume provides an exhilarating thrill and some fantastic fast flowing rapids. Grasp the fundamentals of paddling before you take on white water rapids at Grandtully.
  • Close to Fort William, the Outdoor Capital of the UK, you can take to the waters of the River Garry where scheduled dam releases mean that you can enjoy grade 3 and 4 white water rafting from April to October.
  • You might also get to try rafting on other rivers in the beautiful west Highlands, including the River Lochy, the River Orchy and the River Moriston.
  • Head to Glasgow City Centre where Pinkston Watersports is home to Scotland's only artificial white water rafting course. Outdoor Pursuits Scotland offers a fantastic range of watersport opportunities, including all the thrills and splashes of white water rafting from the safety of the indoors. Perfect if you're a beginner and want to get your skills fine tuned for the outdoors.

What is the best time to go white water rafting in Scotland?

White Water Rafting Perthshire from behind
White water rafting in Perthshire © Timex / Andrew McCandlish

Rafting can be experienced all year round in Scotland, with opportunities for both first time rafters and adrenaline junkies. If you're looking for something gentler to start off with, then try rafting in the height of summer when many rivers are graded 2 and 3, with slower flowing and lower water levels.

For thrill seekers, try rafting just after the snow melts in early spring or after heavy rainfall when many Scottish rivers offer challenging grade 4 and 5 rafting. With fast-moving, surging white waters, you literally have to go with the flow!

FAQs about white water rafting

Why do they call it white water rafting?

For this watersport, you sit in a raft and head down wild rivers. The roughness and rapid movement of the river makes the water froth, appearing white in places.

Are white water rafting and river rafting the same?


How much does it cost to go white water rafting?

You'll need to check with the individual providers before booking, but expect to pay around £50 to £90 (based on adult price, around 3 hours experience).

Is white water rafting dangerous?

White water rafting is only as dangerous as any other watersport or activity, but full safety precautions will be in place, with:

  • Wetsuit
  • Buoyancy aid
  • Helmet
  • Trained, knowledgeable guide
  • Safety briefings before setting out.

If I can't swim, can I still go white water rafting?

Yes. You'll be wearing a buoyancy aid, which is designed to keep you afloat should you fall out of the raft.

What should I wear when going white water rafting?

You'll need a swimming costume or suit for underneath your wetsuit and a pair of old trainers to wear on the rivers, which will all get wet! Bring a change of warm clothes for before and after being on the water, a towel to help dry off and a second pair of shoes to wear.