North West Mountains & Lochs Expedition
13th – 17th May 2024
A 5-day paddling and hiking journey taking you across the stunning lochs and mountains of Assynt in Northwest Scotland. Your journey will take you to remote areas, surrounded by the rugged and scenic landscape often described as the land of the dinosaurs. Using canoes to carry kit and access some of the more remote mountains of northwest Scotland the expedition involves a mixture of hill walking and canoe expedition skills to enable this trip to fully immerse yourself and explore this amazing area of the country. This is truly one of the most remote areas for an inland canoe adventure in Scotland. At night we will wild camp on the islands and shores of these remote lochs. Under the stars and shadows to the epic and unique mountains rising straight out of the ground beside us.
This is an expedition for those who have a passion for the outdoors and want to combine canoe skills and journeying along with the opportunity to not just look at the mountains and scenery but explore them by foot. This trip utilizes a variety of canoe skills to access hard-to-reach areas and offers a unique way to experience the wilderness of Scotland. Some personal paddling skills are essential for this trip however you will have the opportunity to develop your technical and tactical knowledge throughout the trip. We also recommend you have some experience in hill walking, have a decent level of fitness, and are comfortable walking in hiking boots on and off mountain paths.
The route for the trip will remain flexible to accommodate the group’s needs and weather conditions but here are some of the gems of the area we plan to take you to:
Loch Sionasgaig & The Mountain of Stac Pollaidh – a remote loch only accessible by foot or boat with stunning views and beautiful islands of Eilean Mor where we plan to camp. Right next to the loch is one of Scotland’s most popular mountains, a beautiful addition to our trip with stunning views in one direction across the Lochs from where we have come, in another over the Rubh Mor peninsula, and across to the summer isles.
Loch Veyatie & The Mountain of Suilvan – Loch Veyatie offers a beautiful journey towards Suilvan. We plan to gently cruise down the loch towards this stunning mountain, where most would take the full day to walk 8km in then 8km walk back out. We will have the luxury of waking up next to the foot of the hill and being able to leave all our heavy camping gear at the base. This will make for a nice light short but amazing ascent of this Scottish classic. Although it only may stand at 731m which is shorter than many of Scotland’s other mountains, it is one of the most well-known and iconic! With good reason, this is on many a hillwalker and site seeing hit list. With stunning views across the land and out to sea, when stood at the top the landscape can be seen spread out before you all the way out across Assynt to the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Outer Hebrides and the isle Harris and Lewis.
Fionn Loch & the Falls of Kirkaig – Fionn loch is the last body of water linking on from Loch Veyatie before the water makes its way down the river Kirkaig. This soon cascades over the very impressive Falls of Kirkaig and makes its way out to the Atlantic Ocean not far from the town of Lochinver. These impressive falls are well worth a visit and only a short walk from the entrance to the river (better walking from here then making an accidental first canoe decent of these mighty falls).
Guided by two qualified and very experienced canoe coaches and mountain guides; Liam Green & Emy McLeod. Both have vast experience in guiding trips across Scotland and are guaranteed to provide you with a fantastic expedition in the remote wilderness.
Cost: £500 per person
Location: Northwest Scotland – Meeting point Ullapool
What does the cost of the expedition include?
A 5-day, 4 night canoe and hill walking expedition with two highly qualified canoe and mountain guides with a vast knowledge in canoeing, mountaineering, equipment, navigation and wild camping. The guides will share their knowledge of the Scottish wildlife and history as you journey through the mountains and lochs of Assynt. This trip provides a perfect opportunity for you to develop your expedition paddling on open water challenge your technical and tactical abilities in managing your boat in windy conditions up to force 5 and more. We aim to combine a blend of canoeing and hill walking to meet the groups wants and needs for the trip. Being that the trip is so remote we will need to remain flexible to work with the conditions we have and pick what is best to suit the day as mother nature unveils her weather plans! By having 2 guides we can accommodate a variety of peoples wants and needs for the trip. We have an abundance of options and knowledge on the area but if there is something you would like especially out of your expeditions with us we will do our best to make it happen for you!
Pre trip departure there will be a zoom / teams meet where you will meet your two guides and the rest of the clients / team joining the trip. This pre trip meeting will give you an opportunity to voice any questions and discuss our trip together as a team and come feeling fully prepared for a real adventure!
Post trip you will be sent a link to download all trip photography that the guides will be taking throughout the expedition.
Equipment hire of items and kit can be arranged – please refer to the below kit list section.
Grading & Experience / Is this trip for me?
This expedition journey would be great for those who have already completed a multi-day paddle expedition or have some canoe experience and are looking to try an expedition trip that mixes wild camping, hill walking and journeying on a variety of open lochs and gentle rivers. The trip can be paddled in solo or in tandem crafts; whichever you prefer you should ideally have personal paddling skills and experience in open water, wind force (3/4) and gentle moving water. This trip does include some remote and unpathed portages. This means that whatever you bring will need to be carried / dragged across some unpathed challenging terrain. Of course, we will all work together as a team to manage equipment through, but if you bring the kitchen sink everyone might be less inclined to help. Aimed for individuals, couples and/or groups who want to experience remote areas of Scotland, away from the crowds and incorporate hill walking along with journeying via canoe. If you wish to speak to the guides about your experience or find out if this trip is for you before booking, please get in touch to discuss further.
Trip Difficulty: On the Northwest Lochs and Mountains trip – previous experience in an open boat is required. You will generally be paddling and journeying for around 5 – 7 hours a day, covering up to 10 -12km. Every day will be weather dependent; alternative routes may have to be implemented throughout if the weather deems the chosen route not achievable. Your guides have an extensive knowledge of the area and will be able to provide suitable alternatives to ensure the best time on the water throughout your journey. Both guides are experienced and qualified mountain leaders some of the days will involve shorter paddles in order to explore nearby mountains and landscape. This will also involve picture opportunities and a chance to look for some of the famous wildlife the northwest provides.
For this trip you must have your own transport. As with the nature of the expedition, by open boat, from an A to B location there will be a shuttle element required to have vehicles at the end point of the journey, this is factored into day 1 & day 5 of the trip.
Kit List Requirements
Below is a suggested kit list for the trip. Items are split in essential and recommended. If there are items of equipment that you do not have, these can be provided and rented at an additional cost; equipment marked with * are available for rental.
Canoe with airbags or floatation blocks & 5m Bow & Stern Line
Paddle (plus spare)
Barrell / Dry Bags*
Paddling Shoes (we suggest something with a solid sole with grip and ankle support)
Neoprene Gloves / Pogies for paddling if things get a bit chilly
Kneeling Mat & Bailer*
Paddle Clothing & Waterproof jacket & bottoms
Tent, Inflatable Roll Mat & 3 Season Sleeping Bag
Camping Stove & Gas / Cooking Utensils + Plate / Bowl / Coffee Mug
Food: 5 Lunches, 4 Breakfast & 4 Dinner + Snacks (ideas for these and some team meals can be discussed on the zoom meet beforehand)
Water Container (min 2l bottle + purification tablets / water purification straw) + flask (additional drinks optional)
Footwear for camp and hiking boots (with ankle support)
Spare Clothes – merino / technical base layers, thick socks
Warm Jacket for wearing around camp area
Head Torch plus spare batteries
Warm Hat & Gloves (plus spare gloves)
Lightweight towel & toiletries
Dry Trousers & Cag
Sail (solo or downwind sail rig)*
Personal First Aid Kit
Water Purification Tablets
Suncream, Sunglasses & Peaked cap (it can be sunny)
Portable Charging Device
Spare Bags for Wet Kit
Outdoor slippers or crocs for camp
Journey in a traditional way at a pace that allows you to take in the scenic Scottish landscape.
Experience paddling in the remote wilderness of Northwest Scotland by open boat.
Access the mountains and scenery with the comfort and safety of experienced guides.
Develop your paddling skills and receive coaching from two expert canoe guides & qualified coaches.
Post trip – receive a link to download photos from your journey to have as memories from the 5-day expedition.
See calendar for course dates!