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Great Glen Crossing Kayak Expedition (5 Day)

Improver Level - 5 days | Prices from £650.00

Course Rating: 4.5 Rated 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews

The Caledonian Canal is suitable for people with basic kayaking skills, it journeys along some of the largest lochs in Britain so experience of paddling in a bit of wind is useful. The enthusiasm to learn about paddling in wind, open water and waves is essential! During the journey we will look at many paddling skills as well as the skills to camp overnight and have an enjoyable journey.

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Dates & Prices

Cost (with accommodation): £650.00

Is It For Me?

This is one of the Classic Scottish paddling trips, which journeys along Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, as well as of course the Caledonian Canal. This amazing journey therefore links the west coast to the east coast along one of the most spectacular natural glens around. Over the 5 days the journey is about 62 miles long and broken into manageable sections.  To get the most of the week some kayaking experience is essential, a minimum of five days on open water, and the fitness for a 5-day expedition is required. Wild or remote camping is a highlight of this trip and we usually have many happy hours spent round the campsite chatting about past, current and future adventures.

Course Aims

The Caledonian Canal is suitable for people with basic paddling skills, it journeys along some of the largest lochs in Britain so experience of paddling in a bit of wind is useful. The enthusiasm to learn about paddling in wind, open water and waves is essential. During the journey we will look at many paddling skills as well as the skills to camp overnight and have an enjoyable journey.

Course Content

You will be in a maximum group size of seven, with one instructor. Meeting your instructor on the first morning provides an opportunity to discuss people’s experience and aspirations, which along with the weather forecast will enable us to plan the weeks’ journey with you.  The journey is done in stable touring kayaks.

Day one will be spent getting boats and kit organised and then driving to the put in at Corpach near Fort William.  We will then pack up our boats and start our journey. Probably making it to Loch Lochy for our first night.

The next four days will be weather dependant and some days we might paddle further than others to make the most of the conditions.  We will take some time during the days to look at personal paddling skills.  We will portage our boats around the locks on canoe trolleys and depending on the groups river skills and river level we may paddle the River Oich which flows between Loch Oich and Loch Ness.  Highlights of the journey are the amazing mountain and lochside scenery that we are paddling through, learning a bit about the history of the canal and stopping off at some of the lovely towns and villages that the waterway passes through.

The final day will see us paddling into Inverness and getting picked up and driven back to Glenmore for unpacking, sorting out kit and final day tea and cakes.

This is a general outline of the journey and changes may be made due to weather, local conditions and paddlers ability.

What Will I Need?

Glenmore Lodge has a large, and very comprehensive store of up to date clothing and equipment. You are welcome to use your own equipment and pick and choose odd items from the store. Your instructor will want to check that personal equipment is appropriate for the activity.

If you are thinking about buying equipment but are not too sure what to get we would advise you to come and try our equipment and then make your purchases after the course. We have a range of most equipment items you can try during the course and there is advice on hand from other students as well as the staff.

We have a range of some of the latest touring kayaks that are from Pyranha and Venture Kayaks.

Our paddling clothing is from PeakUK which we can tailor to you and your discipline.

We use a Selection of paddles depending on the activity.


  • Buoyancy aids
  • Helmets
  • Cags
  • Wet suits
  • Wet suit bootees
  • Small drybags
  • Paddling Trousers
  • Pogies
  • Paddling Neoprene Gloves/mitts


  • Large dry bags
  • Barrels for open boat journeys
  • Sleeping bag & liner
  • Tents (2 & 3 person)
  •  Karrimat
  • Cookers, (Trangias, MSR & primus) we have paraffin and meths only. If you prefer to use your own stove you must bring the fuel for it.
  • Pots and pans
  • Cutlery / plastic mug
  •  Maps


Listed here are the essentials, this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Informal clothing for leisure wear
  • Insulating layers – at least two mid weights
  • Fleece/insulated jacket
  • Hat & gloves***
  • Vacuum Flask & Water Bottle ***
  • Box or bag for packed lunch.
  • Blister kit/ small first aid kit
  • Personal toiletries & medications (towels are provided)
  • Sun cream – you just never know! ***
  • Sunhat and sun glasses & cord
  • Insect Repellent – it may be midgey!***
  • Spare towel
  • An alarm clock
  • Glenmore Lodge also has a pool, sauna, gym & climbing wall – so don’t forget your swimming/gym/climbing kit if you are staying on afterwards!
  •  For open canoe journey courses, a pair of walking boots are very useful.

Items marked *** are available in our shop subject to availability.

Course Pre-Requisites

5 days kayaking on open water & fitness for a 5 day expedition.

Course Rating: 4.5 Rated 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews Read all reviews

Very enjoyable and memorable trip
Jones Brian Reviewed on 25/06/2018
Course Content
Food & Drink
I enjoyed and got a lot out of the expedition. I'd also like to award a 5-star rating to the equipment provided. It wasn't until we reached Inverness that Giles told me how much the paddles cost - small wonder that they were so good!
The weather wasn't great for mid-June, and that did have some influence on what we did, but that is outwith human control. We made the most of it.
The coaching I got when the water was calm on day 5 was particularly appreciated.

Tom Leatherland Reviewed on 21/06/2015
Course Content
Food & Drink

What’s included on your course

  • Instruction
  • Use of kit
  • Shuttle bus to Glenmore Lodge (departs Aviemore station 5:20pm on Friday and Sundays)
  • Packed lunch and afternoon tea each day
  • In-course transport

What’s included if you choose the residential option – As above PLUS

  • Bed in shared en-suite room – available from 3pm on day before your course starts *

(Single rooms may be available for a supplementary charge, please ask at reception when you arrive)

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner for each course day (except one day and back-to-back courses)
  • Use of the facilities at Glenmore Lodge
  • Linen is provided along with a towel, you may wish to bring an extra towel if you would like to use the facilities or are on a paddlesport course

Arriving at Glenmore Lodge

  • For more information on travel to the Lodge click here
  • Your first inclusive meal is breakfast (7:45 -8:30am) An evening meal is not provided on your arrival night, but bar meals are available in our Lochain bar 5pm to 9pm (5-7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Packed lunches are collected at breakfast
  • On Mondays and Saturdays only there will be a 10 minute welcome talk at 8.15am, on other days you will meet your instructor at 9am. The daily programme of your course will be discussed with your instructor when you first meet, taking into account aspirations and prevailing weather conditions

On your last day

  • Check out time is 10am on the final day of your booking, we have changing areas, showers and left luggage facilities on site
  • All courses will finish by 5pm
  • On Fridays and Sundays we offer a drop off to Aviemore station, leaving Glenmore Lodge at 5pm, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance if you would like to book this service

*some exceptions – see detailed course notes

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check our FAQ’s here or contact us on [email protected] or 01479 861256

Can't find exactly what you are looking for?

Design your own course

We are happy to create it for you. You can hire one of our instructors or guides from as little as £280 a day, including any equipment. If you’re a group, all of our courses are available on a date that suits you or if you would prefer we can tailor a course to your requirements. Simply give us a call to discuss your requirements.

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