The Great Glen Canoe Trail
The Great Glen Canoe Trail is a coast to coast canoe adventure along the Caledonian Canal linking Fort William and Inverness via 60 miles of canal and open water lochs. The Great Glen Canoe trail can be started at either Inverness or Fort William but most tend to start at the Fort William end due to the prevailing wind direction during the paddling season.
The Great Glen Canoe Trail starts off on a section of canal to ease you in gently before you come to Gairlochy Locks where you will have to protage (carry your boats) around the Locks. Once around thes lochs you are out onto Loch Lochy which is a large stretch of open water that is not to be underestimated during windy conditions. At the head of Loch Lochy there is another portage around Laggan Locks and then a nice cruise down Laggan Corridor which is a beautiful stretch of canal before paddling in to the most sheltered loch on the system, Loch Oich. Active Highs centre is based on Loch Oich just as you paddle out from Laggan Corridor so there is always the opportunity to pop in with any questions or just to say hi as you are passing.
At the end of Loch Oich the official trail route follows the next canal section where there a further two protages around lock sections prior to arriving at a longer portage at Fort Augustus where you will meet Loch Ness. There is an alternative route from Loch Oich into Loch Ness for experienced paddlers that have knowledge of reading and running rivers and white water safety and rescue.
Once on Loch Ness, you have a long paddle across Scotland’s most famous and iconic waterways with fantastic views. Although Loch Ness is an inland waterway, care is definitely needed here as Loch Ness is essentially an inland sea due to it’s size and the amount of fetch that can create large waves during windy conditions. Loch Ness is the scene of the occasional rescue along the Great Glen Canoe Trail and as so actually has it’s own dedicated life boat.
At the end of Loch Ness there is another smaller loch known as Loch Dochfour before the junction of the canal section and the River Ness, unless you intend to run the weir and take on the River Ness then it is advisable to stay left to continue to your journey’s end and Inverness.
Great Glen Canoe and Kayak Hire
If you feel capable of taking on the Great Glen Canoe Trail then Active Highs have a fleet of open canoes and sea touring kayaks that are available for hire to competent paddlers and we can also provide a pick up and drop off service at several points along the trail. For more information please check out our canoe hire page.
If you are not confident that you have the skills to take on the trail unguided then we also have Guided Great Glen Canoe Trips available.
We also have half and full day Great Glen Canoe Trips available if you are unable to take on the full trail due to time commitments or would just like to enjoy a less committing paddle on Loch Oich.