Kayaking the Great Glen
Having talked about going on a multiday adventure, the Great Glen seemed like a good choice. It’s long enough to be a challenge, feels pretty remote but in reality is not and the scenery is fantastic. The next decision was ‘when’. Planning our trip for the end of April / beginning of May was a bit of a gamble with the weather but decided we’d rather be cold than covered in midges.
We started at the top of Neptune’s staircase, near Fort William, with glorious sun and 20 degrees. We were all wondering if we were going to regret the choice to wear drysuits but were certainly glad of our decision later in the week when the weather changed to 5 degrees and hail.
We completed the trip in 4 days with 3 nights of wild camping. Our first night we camped on a beach on the northern shore of Loch Lochy. There is a designated wild camping spot a little further along the loch but it was a bit too far for us to make on our first day. The next two nights were spent on Loch Ness, the first was a small patch of woodland near Fort Augustus, and the second was a picnic spot with views across the loch to Urquhart Castle. We managed to find suitable sites to pitch our tents but taking a hammock would have given a lot more opportunities for some great camping spots as there are plenty of trees along the shores.
Some of the most useful kit we were glad to have with us were:
- Tarp: This came in really handy on the evenings it rained
- Water carriers: We had some flexible plastic water carriers which we filled up at water points along the canals. To get access to water points and toilets you can borrow a key from the canal offices for £10 per person.
- Big IKEA bags: These were really useful to have available in the boat to gather up kit and carry to your camp spot if it’s a little way from the shore
We wished we’d had:
- More and smaller dry bags: Having a few more options to separate wet and dry items would have been good. We also found some of our larger dry bags were difficult to get through the hatches in the sea kayaks
- Spare shoes: We actually had a lot more space in the sea kayaks than we had anticipated, and all agreed that if we had known this, we’d have packed a change of shoes for the evenings.
AS kindly lent us some their Werner Shuna demo paddles, thank you! The Werner Shunas are great paddles; lightweight, comfortable and glide through the water beautifully. We particularly liked how they are splits and the feather can be set at different angles to suit. They also come in some great colours!
Jo & Noah