The Great Glen Canoe Trail
The Great Glen Canoe Trail follows the 60 miles of the Caledonian Canal from Corpach
(Fort William) in the West to Clachnaharry (Inverness) in the East. Our Journey finishes
slightly short of Inverness, at Dochgarroch.
You will be paddling on man-made canals, the open waters of Loch Lochy and Loch Ness,
the slightly more sheltered waters of Loch Oich and Loch Dochfour.
The trail is Scotland’s first dedicated long distance canoe trail. It was launched in 2012 with
dedicated facilities such as low-level pontoons and Trailblazer rest sites.
The route includes 29 locks which must be portaged around, and takes most paddlers about
3 to 5 days days.
A challenging multi-day Journey which comprises 22 miles of man-made canal and 38 miles
of open water on the lochs. The Great Glen Canoe Trail is perfect for less experienced
paddlers who want to experience an adventure as part of an organised trip.
At a Glance
4 nights wild camping
5 days guided kayaking journey with instruction
Group normally 5 to 8, per leader
I hope you are looking forward to your residential next month. The following is a little generic and not all aspects are relevant to your trip.
No Food is provided you must bring your own food or provisions to make your own.
What Happens Next
Final joining instructions
Your final joining instructions will be sent out 2 to 3 weeks before departure. If you would like a hard copy posted, or if you require these any earlier, please contact us. We advise that if you are booking connecting travel before receiving these, please ensure you leave plenty of time.
Joining the trip and meeting the group
On arrival at the designated meet point you will be met by your leader, Some group members may arrive at different times depending on their travel arrangements.
Preparing For Your Trip
Training and fitness
For our active trips, we are often asked ‘what kind of fitness levels are required?’ or ‘what kind of training do I need to do?’ Of course, if you have booked a trip that is at the upper end of your capabilities, you want to know that you have done all you can to prepare. Unfortunately however, these questions are often the most difficult to answer. Only you know your current fitness levels and capabilities, and can prepare according to the options available to you. It is always best to make your preparation as close to the real thing as possible. There is no point in relying on your weekly squash game (short bursts of explosive energy) to prepare for several consecutive days of cycling or skiing. If you are unsure, refer to our trip notes or contact us for a chat.
What to pack?
Attached is a kit list, please ensure you check the list carefully, as anything beyond normal travel and clothing requirements will be shown here.
If you still have questions, you can contact us, we will be happy to offer advice, and guidance on what is required.
Of course no list is foolproof. We may encourage you to take waterproofs, and it will turn out to be the driest year on record. But if we don’t suggest it, you can be sure it’s going to rain!
If you have a technical query about specialist equipment such as walking boots, sleeping bags or down jackets, then we recommend speaking to a specialist retailer. However, we are happy to offer general advice.
Getting prepared for your travels
British nationals require a full passport for all European packages and this should be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return home. If you are not a British national, other regulations may apply to you and you should check with the nearest embassy of the country you intend to visit.
Please note that for certain trips, we will require your passport details prior to accepting your booking. Furthermore, if you renew your passport after you have booked, it is important you advise us of the new details as soon as possible and you may be required to take your old passport with you to maintain the validity of the trip.
It is an essential condition of joining any European Adventure Residential package that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of any emergency medical treatment. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation. If you are unsure of what insurance you need please contact us.
Global Health Insurance Card or GHIC
If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). You can apply for this card, free of charge.
Your own first aid or medical kit
For all remote or active trips, your tour leader will be first aid trained, and will carry an adequate first aid kit or medical kit. However, we recommend that clients carry a small first aid kit for personal use.
The following list is intended as a guide only:
Plasters (including blister plasters for walking trips); sterile dressings and bandages; simple painkillers e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen; antiseptic cream; antihistamine cream (for insect bites); sunburn cream; anti-diarrhoea pills e.g. Imodium or Lomotil; rehydration salts e.g. Dioralyte.
Please ensure you carry any essential personal medication in your hand luggage rather than checked in bags.
Adventure Residentials monitors travel advice closely for every country we visit, and we follow their advice to the letter. Should the advice be to avoid non-essential travel to an area of a country we planned to visit, we will ensure itineraries are changed and travellers are contacted.
Should the advice change to recommend against travel to a whole country, we will not operate the package and will instead offer all travellers the chance to transfer to an alternative tour or request a full refund.
During your trip
You must abide by the authority of the tour leader and their word is final; if the leader deems you to be unfit or unsuitable for a particular activity, you may not be allowed to participate with the rest of the group. If by choice or necessity you leave the group, we will not be able to supply alternative services, leaders, activities or any refund.
Adventure travel warning
Whilst we ensure that all activities are operated to the local legal standard and that risk assessments are carried out annually, many of our holidays do carry an element of risk.
On many of our packages, the areas are remote and events far less predictable than on a conventional holiday. Health, safety and operational standards, particularly of hotels and transport, are often not up to levels we have come to expect. We require that all the properties and transport we use comply fully with local regulations, but we do not guarantee the same standards as in your home country. If you choose to travel on this type of holiday, you must be prepared to accept that this is all part of the experience.
Outdoor activities are weather dependent to an extent and some can become dangerous in certain conditions. If the leader feels there is any heightened level of risk involved in activity, they may amend it as they see fit or cancel it, in which case we will do our best to offer an alternative activity.
Adverse weather conditions, political situations and a host of other uncontrollable factors can mean a change in itinerary. It is unlikely that an itinerary would be substantially altered, but if changes are necessary, we will make the best possible alternative arrangements which maintain the integrity of the original itinerary. We will do everything we can to minimise the effect, but we cannot be held responsible for the impact of changes outside our control.
Crime and other security risks exist in all countries and whilst travelling in a group is a safeguard, it is not a guarantee of safety. We will take all reasonable care of you, but we cannot do this adequately if you do not at all times take sensible precautions yourself.
The Trip Notes describe the type of accommodation used, including details about camping, huts, teahouses, bathroom facilities and any nights spent in multi-share rooms. Our aim, wherever possible, is to use properties that are in keeping with the area that we visit and is locally-owned. All accommodation is carefully chosen, but please be aware that electricity, plumbing and hot water can sometimes be erratic, and other facilities will vary in standard.
Our prices are based on shared accommodation, which means that if you book on your own, we will arrange for you to share with a person of the same sex. You must satisfy yourself that you do not have any conditions or preferences which may preclude you from sharing accomodation.
Our trips are group packages and require a certain number of participants to operate; we indicate normal group sizes in the Trip Notes and website. In the unlikely event that a trip does not reach the normal minimum, we may be forced to cancel the package; a decision will usually be made between eight and six weeks before departure, unless there are late cancellations from other passengers. We reserve the right to confirm trips on numbers lower than the minimum indicated and occasionally we may exceed the normal maximum. If at the time of booking your trip is not guaranteed, we strongly recommend that you do not make any non-refundable or non-changeable travel arrangements.
For most tours, the minimum age is 16 years, however those aged 16 and 17 years can only travel with parental/guardian consent. There is no upper age limit, but as most holidays are quite active we may ask clients over the age of 80 a number of questions about their health and fitness.
Food or provisions to make your own is not provided. Please bring what you need for the journey. There are some opportunities to purchase food along the way.
Pre-existing conditions and fitness
You must advise us of any pre-existing conditions, illnesses, disabilities or recent surgeries which may affect your or other people’s enjoyment of the package. Please read the Trip Notes carefully for details of the level of the activity and any necessary experience required on your package. It is your responsibility to ensure that the trip or activity is suitable for you and that you are fit enough to participate fully. If you are worried about any pre-existing medical condition or if you are unsure of your own physical ability, we recommend that you seek medical advice prior to booking. In certain cases we may require a doctor’s letter confirming your suitability to join a specific trip.
Meet at Corpach train station near Fort William.
A unique opportunity to paddle from the Atlantic to the North Sea
Water-level perspective on very beautiful Highland scenery
Wild camping opportunities on the shores of the lochs
Access to all of the canal’s toilets and showers
Expert instruction from our first class guides
Is This Trip for You?
A week for complete beginners or individuals with kayaking experience. Inevitably we start
with the basics, building your ability as the journey progresses.
You will be in your kayak for at least 5-6 hours a day with a focus on tuition, getting
comfortable in your kayak and building towards independent journeying.
This trip may be suitable for persons of reduced mobility. Please contact us to discuss
the trip and your personal condition.
Scroll down for an outline itinerary
Day -1 Optional
If you are travelling from afar then you may wish to stay the night before.
0800 - 1700
Today we will take it easy. The aim is to get you familiar with your kayak.
We will go through all the basic paddle strokes and what to do if you are unfortunate
enough to capsize.
Before we even get on the water we will look at how to pack the kayak for the journey
and at the group equipment you will be carrying. Once the basics are covered we will
set off and use the start of the journey to practice your paddling and enhance your skills.
Camping near Gairlochy
0800 - 1700
Today we take on our first large Loch, Loch Lochy. Approximately 16km long this loch can be
challenging. We will hug the north shore and pass by Bunarkaig were if we are lucky
we may see osprey fishing in the bay. Staying close to bank we will travel alongside
the forested shore line, stopping for regular breaks on small beaches along the way.
Camping at Laggan Locks
Day 3 Loch Oich
0800 - 1700
This is the shortest day but one of the nicest, passing through the beautiful Loch Oich which
is the smallest Loch on our journey but always a highlight.
The final part of the day is portaging the locks at For Augustus before setting up camp
on the shores of Loch Ness.
Camping at Loch Ness
Loch Ness - South
0800 - 1700
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the heart of The Great Glen.
Loch Ness extends for approximately 37 kilometres and has the largest volume of
freshwater in Great Britain. This will be our home for two days.
Setting off from Fort Augustus we will paddle along the more remote south side of the Loch.
On a clear day we will see our destination Foyers in the distance, and along the way there
are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the dramatic scenery on offer.
Camping at Foyers
Loch Ness - North
0800 - 1700
The final leg of our journey, we travel to the very top of loch Ness before entering the final
stretch of canal to Dochgarroch.
We will end our journey late in the afternoon, as such travel links for some may be difficult. You may wish to arrange some local accommodation and start your homeward journey the following day.