Get ready to embark on an epic adventure through the stunning Scottish Highlands, where you'll paddle down the mighty Spey River and indulge in some of the world's finest whiskys! Canoe Scotland: Whitewater & Whisky is the ultimate trip for canoe enthusiasts and whisky lovers alike.
Our journey kicks off in the breathtaking Cairngorms National Park, known for its rugged trails and awe-inspiring vistas. After warming up on Loch Morlich, we'll navigate the fast-flowing waters of the Spey River, passing through charming villages and taking in the best views of the Highland countryside.
But that's not all! We'll also stay in the area's most luxurious hotels, giving you the chance to relax in comfort and style after a day of paddling. And with two nights in each hotel, you won't have to worry about packing and unpacking every day.
As you explore the Spey Valley, our expert guides will introduce you to the world-renowned whiskys produced by the region's many distilleries. From well-known brands like Chivas and Dewars to hidden gems like An Cnoc and Tamdhu, you'll savor the complex flavors and aromas of some of the finest whiskys in the world.
But don't worry, we won't let you overindulge! You'll need to stay sharp for the next day's paddling, while our team takes care of shuttling your baggage and newly acquired whisky bottles to our next hotel. This is the ultimate trip for those looking to combine outdoor adventure and world-class whisky tasting. Don't miss out on this unforgettable journey through the Scottish Highlands!
1: Warmup paddling Loch Morlich, Whisky Tasting
We meet in Inverness at 1pm and transfer (1 hour) to Loch Morlich, in the heart of Cairngorms National Park. Our canoes are waiting and we get straight onto the water. It’s a chance to refresh skills and enjoy the big mountain views from this scenic lake, before the journey begins tomorrow. We overnight in the nearby mountain village of Aviemore. After dinner, our guides will offer an informal whisky tasting in the hotel bar.
Paddling: 4 mi, Meals: D
2: Paddling Loch Insh, Spey River to Boat of Garten
Our journey down the River Spey starts in earnest today. A short transfer (15 mins) takes us to our put in point at scenic Loch Insh. Following the outflow, we glide down the River Spey, passing through Aviemore and continuing to the village of Boat of Garten. We end our first day here and transfer back to Aviemore (15 mins) for the night.
Paddling: 12 mi, Meals: B,L,D
3: Paddle to Grantown, Distillery visit and Whisky Tasting
An easy morning in the canoes today as we glide from Boat of Garten downstream to the town of Grantown on Spey. Arriving around midday, we have lunch and then spend the afternoon getting better acquainted with the local malt whiskies! We’ll visit a local distillery for a tour and tasting and pop into our favorite whisky shop - a tiny store packed with over 600 malts, including some very rare ones! We spend the night in the attractive town of Grantown-on-Spey.
Paddling: 4 mi, Meals: B,L,D
4: Paddle past historic old Spey Bridge, Whitewater afternoon
Paddling away from Grantown-on-Spey, we pass under a couple of bridges, including the Old Spey Bridge which was built in 1754. There is time to work on the skills that will be essential when negotiating the rapids that lie ahead in the second half of the journey. We’ll put these skills to use at the end of the day with a trip through the short but exciting rapid known as the ‘Washing Machine’. A short transfer returns us to Grantown-on-Spey where we enjoy a night out at a favorite local restaurant.
Paddling: 13 mi, Meals: B,L,D
5: Whitewater on the Spey, Blacksboat to Craigellachie, Whisky Tasting.
We return to where we left off yesterday for a fun day on the river. Our moving water skills are tested today as we meet unforgettable rapids such as the Station Pool of Knockando, and numerous shorter rapids. We’ll also pass by a few small villages (most of which have a whisky distillery) before finishing near the village of Aberlour, our base for the next 2 nights. Our guide will lead another whisky-tasting in a favorite local bar in the village.
Paddling: 10 mi, Meals: B,L,D
6: Final day of Paddling to Spey Bay.
We canoe along the final stretch of the Spey, where the valley widens as we approach the sea. We will put our new skills to good use on this stretch where the Spey twists its way through rolling rural farmland. We pass many beautiful pools and small islands before passing under a bridge at Fochabers, where the coastal plain emerges and we travel alongside gravel banks before reaching our journey’s end at Spey Bay. We return to Aberlour to celebrate our journey with a memorable final night meal and, of course, a ‘wee dram’ of the local malt whisky.
Paddling: 14 mi, Meals: B,L,D
After a relaxed breakfast, a 90 minute transfer takes us to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness, where our trip ends. We can drop off at the airport (regular flights to London, Amsterdam and Dublin), the railway station or at a city center hotel.