Canoeing the Great Glen, will I die?

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  • Canoeing the Great Glen, will I die?
  • A work colleague who does a bit of canoeing & kayaking has invited a few of us from work for a 3-4 day trip canoeing the Great Glen this summer. I’ve agreed but the only time I’ve ever used an orr is in the boating pond at Alton Towers.
    After checking out some good videos about canoeing on the Glen its got me thinking it could be tricky.
    The idea is for me and another (virgin canoeist)to buddy up on a 16ft Indian canoe and camp along the route.

    So should I just turn up and wing it or should I get some practice in first?
    And any tips or general piss taking greatfully received.
    Thanks in advance


    Sounds like a great idea. It’s all open water and canals isn’t it (i.e. no white water)? If so, you’ll have no problem

    Premier Icon BigJohn

    Best do some practice on the log flume first.


    it will be a great trip. i plan to take my kids in a few years.

    you should practise not leaving behind any rubbish etc if some of the route is anything is to go by.



    I assume he know what he is doing? Sections of the lakes could be dangerous if you don’t and end up swimming around in the middle of a loch.

    It is generally easy though. My wife and I did it last year. We know a bit about paddling though having done a significant amount over the years (Whitewater, Sea, polo, slalom, WW racing, open boating etc.) But they take groups of kids out to do it as a trip. All that will happen is that it will be slower and harder if you don’t know how to paddle efficiently.

    Which ever end you start from it is on canals IIRC so the start up period is easy as it is sheltered. Gets trickier on the Lochs if it is windy. We were stuck paddling into the wind, when launched onto Loch Ness there was a few feet of swell and a howling gale. It made for an interesting first hour when we got about a mile and very wet.. So make sure, if you can, that you have the wind behind you.


    Good kit. Waterproof coat and trousers are fine for an open boat in bad weather. Shorts and T shirt are good if it is sunny. Sunglasses and a hat as you’ll go blind being on the water all day.

    For your feet I have found neoprene socks and sandles work best. Sandles if it is nice, socks and sandles if it isn’t. It is possible to launch and keep your feet dry but not always. Old trainers for the evening or wellies?
    Trainers on the water get wet and stay wet.

    Dry bags – sealed well. Critical kit in rubble sacks inside. Having a wet sleeping bag is miserable. Have a small bag for stuff you’ll need on the water so you don’t need to route around in your main one.

    Your stroke uses your whole body, your arms aren’t strong enough to keep going all day alone.

    Person at the front provides the power. The person at the back steers (and provides power).

    Take a small tent – if you are wild camping then this allows more flexibility.

    Weight is not much of an issue, don’t go mad but you don’t need everything to be super light. For food it is easier to have stuff to heat up rather than rehydrate.

    There are shops, pubs etc. on the route. It can be remote but it needn’t be.

    Plenty have done it from here so post up if you have specific questions.

    Premier Icon richmtb

    Its all canal and lochs – Loch Linhe, Lock Lochy and Loch Ness IIRC. Fair distance mind. Loch Ness is the best part of 23 miles alone.

    Would be absolutely amazing if you got some nice weather


    Sections of the lakes

    – If you’re paddling on any lakes on this trip you need to have a rethink of your navigation abilities.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    It is a fabulous trip, and absolutely achieveable for beginners and experts alike. We take many DofE trips and similar on there or other trips each year. It is a stunning trip.
    However, use some common sense – the big lochs can be a shock in size, wind strength, wave height and coldness… Excercise precaution and do not head out if you are at all unsure. There are lots of people to help advise along route.
    Some colleagues leading a trip last year on there:
    Trust me, next year you *will* want a wide brimmed hat and a trip down the Spey/Tay/Royal Dee….

    Cheers for the replies folks, quite looking forward to it now 🙂

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