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Scotland: Sea Kayaking From Loch to Loch

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui

France  |  Norway  |  Scotland  |  Switzerland

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"Our friends in Glasgow let us in on a paddling secret: the west coast of Scotland and the Inner Hebrides," reports Olaf Malver, founder of Explorers' Corner. "We were won over immediately. It's one of the best kayaking destinations on the planet." On the six-day circuit around Scotland and its little-known satellite isles, days of loch-hopping are paired with evening pub crawls and nights in traditional, family-owned coastal inns. The remote waterways are typically traversed only by expert local paddlers, but Malver has cherry-picked the calmest passages, granting access to the less experienced. The trip takes kayakers through the cobalt blue Sound of Arisaig—where golden eagle and whale sightings are common—along the Isles of Rum and Eigg, and to a landing on Eilean Shona, or Beautiful Island, a green gem spectacularly set at the entrance to Loch Moidart. Each day's journey includes six to eight hours of paddling past gray seal colonies, sandy beaches, and historic lochs (including Loch nan Uamh, or Loch of the Cave, where Bonnie Prince Charlie is said to have landed in his 18th-century efforts to claim the thrones of Scotland and England). En route you'll hike through castle ruins and roam small villages. Optional side trips include a visit to a Scotch whisky distillery and a 12-and-a-half-mile (20-kilometer) paddle up Loch Shiel to Glenfinnan, famous for the magic railway viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films.


Outfitter: Explorers' Corner (

Price: $3,690

Length: Eight days

Departs: June, September

France  |  Norway  |  Scotland  |  Switzerland

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