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Bucket list travel: Sea kayaking along Scotland’s western shoreline

Written By | May 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2017 – When we think of Scotland we think of heather strewn moors, castles, kilts and whiskey. All good travel and holiday pursuits. However, Scotland is also a bucket list destination for the eco and adventure tourist to discover the coasts of Western Scotland’s from the sea.

Gaining popularity are the sea-kayaking excursions of the beautiful west coast Highlands’ from the Morvern peninsula in the south to wind-lashed Cape Wrath in the far north. Here kayakers will experience the remote and raw beauty of some of the most beautiful sea coast in the world; to explore the land of the Gaels from a different perspective.

Found along Scotland’s jagged coastline are sea lochs, tidal inlets of sea water that have worn away the coastline to create inland bodies of water, from small to large. These lochs are plentiful along the western coast and they boast windswept white-sand beaches, striking cliffs and rugged mountains rising along the shoreline.

These areas are sparsely populated, and from the sea you miss those that travel the coastal driving routes, providing a real sense of discovery, adventure and the isolation that makes the west coast a destination for those seeking a unique travel experience

At its northwest corner where the full force of the North Atlantic winds carve the shoreline, Scotland is described as wild and bleak and while at its southern points, lands are more sheltered and lush with plenty of wilderness and romantic peninsulas with evocative Gaelic names like Ardnamurchan, Knoydart, and Glenelg.

As a traveler, finding new destinations, new experiences can be trouble, and regret, free when working with a reliable tour operator. Following are a few adventure tours from Wilderness Scotland to add to your travel bucket list. Check with the tour operators for tour dates and accommodation details.

Note: While this writer has not experienced this operator’s Scotland tours, the amount of information available on their website provides information necessary to ensure your physical ability to participate and is deemed reliable:

This short break kayaking course for beginners will equip travelers with the essential kayaking skills to get them ready for longer sea kayak journeys. Based at Upper Loch Torridon in the northwest Highlands, adventurers benefit from learning the essential skills while enjoying some of the finest sea kayaking in Scotland. Explore Loch Shieldaig and Shieldaig Island, known for its beautiful Scots Pines and heronry, journey to Kishorn Island’s seal colony, and stay in a private bunkhouse getting a taste for expedition while preparing specially-devised menus together with the guide.

Scottish Sea Kayak Trail South – The Whisky Coast – Image Courtesy Wildnerness Scotland

Paddle through the sheltered, crystal-clear waters of the Sound of Arisaig, home to a rich diversity of wildlife and endless inspiring vistas – white sandy beaches set against the backdrop of the dramatic but gracefully sculpted Small Isles of Rum, Eigg and Muck. Kayak past the dramatic Castle Tioram into the sheltered waters of Loch Moidart and Loch nan Uamh, and set up camp on remote beaches and isolated islands covered by colorful natural woodlands, providing a perfect backdrop to relax after a day on the water.

The Summer Isles [Some experience required]

Known for its rich marine life with dolphins, porpoises, seals, and whales, this region, kayakers discover this little-known archipelago of wild coastlines, natural rock arches and white-sand beaches. Paddlers follow the channel between the wildlife reserve of Isle Ristol and Eilean Mullagrach, explore the numerous channels and inlets between the islands, visit breathtaking Badentarbat Bay and camp on secluded white sandy beaches as well as Horse Island, home to legendary buried treasure!

Kayaking through Caves: Scotland’s Summer Isles – Image Wilderness Scotland

Island Hopping in the Outer Hebrides [Challenging. Experience required]

This is sea kayaking for the connoisseur. North Uist and Harris boast some of the best sea kayaking in Scotland, with incredible wildlife and stunning coastal scenery. Adventurers explore the countless islands of Loch na Buaile and Loch Maddy, camp at the water’s edge under the stars, and end the week along the coastline of Harris, with its long, sandy beaches of the west coast and the skerries of the Sound of Harris, leaving sea kayakers spoiled for choice.

Kayakers on beach: Sound of Arisaig – Image Courtesy of Wilderness Scotland

Wilderness Scotland’s robust portfolio of sea kayaking trips combines essential paddling instruction, with fresh and inventive cuisine and the wild Scottish coast. With a guide to guest ratio of 1:4 and a maximum of 8 participants per departure, there is plenty of time for individual coaching from the expert sea kayaking team.

For more information, visit

About Wilderness Scotland

Wilderness Scotland, established in 2001, is rated Europe’s No.1 Adventure Travel Company by National Geographic and is Scotland’s only five-star accredited adventure tour operator. In 2012, its outpost Wilderness Ireland was launched. Offering an unrivalled range of small-group departures, self-guided trips and custom vacations, Wilderness Scotland and Wilderness Ireland lead the way in active and nature-based travel to the remote and wild corners of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the North of England. Popular outdoor experiences include hiking, road cycling, and kayaking. Wildlife, cultural, photography and sailing adventures are also available.


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Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award-winning writer and wanderer. She turns her thoughts to an eclectic mix of stories - from politics to sports. Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read.