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Sunday, 26th February 2017

Great Glen Canoe Trail


The Great Glen Canoe Trail spans 60 miles of canal and lochs from Corpach, Fort William to Clachnaharry, Inverness. The trail consists of sections of the Caledonian Canal totaling 22 miles which connect Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. The more advanced groups may also wish to tackle River Lochy, River Oich and River Ness to add adventure to the trip.   

It is highly recommended that you select an Open Canadian Canoe or Sea Kayak for your trip to allow transport of the equipment and essentials required. It is suggested that in an Open Canoe the trail can be completed in approximately 5 days, with the Sea Kayak slightly faster with a total of 3-4 days.

However, there are a range of factors which must be considered in the planning stages prior to your trip to identify the distance you wish to complete each day:

  Group Experience | Choice of Craft | Group Size | Weather | Wind Direction | Group Fitness

Download your trail guide from our selection of Maps and Itineraries >

Download your Great Glen Canoe Trail map

Useful Information: 

Registration

You must register with Scottish Canals before taking to the water

Wind

The wind direction may encourage you to travel from West to East (Fort William to Inverness)



Weather

The weather and resultant waves on the lochs may prevent you from travelling on a particular day, please do not tackle anything out with your skill level and experience.

Take the time to rest and explore the Great Glen, or return to the challenge at a later date.

Portage

You must allow extra time in your plan to portage the lock gates along the trail.

Delays

You must also allow extra time for unforeseen delays, the canal can be busy during the summer months.

Guided Trips

Consider whether your group would benefit from the supervision and rescue experience of a guide.

Food

You must consider if you are going to buy food on the trail to reduce portage weight, and identify shops on route.

Insurance

Do you have, or think you should invest in canoe insurance for the duration of the trip?

Canoe Rental and Shuttle Services

Wilderness Guides Canoeing is a dedicated canoe company offering canoe rental and shuttle services for the Great Glen Canoe Trail. Based in Fort William, they hire out quality kit at great prices.    

Snowgoose Mountain Centre provides a complete package of well maintained open canoe, sea kayak and full camping equipment hire,a comprehensive shuttle service and locally qualified guides plus unrivalled local advice & information – not only for the Great Glen.

Paddle Registration

You must contact Scottish Canals to register your trip prior to taking to the water.

Scottish Canals will keep you updated with events, maintenance works and other factors which may affect your trip.

They will also offer you advice and vital safety information during the planning stages of your trip, and provide you with a waterproof Trail Guide Map.

Click to see more information on The Great Glen Canoe Trail >

Click to see more information on Scottish Canals >

Click to see more information on The Great Glen Way >

Canal Safety 

  • Keep to the right hand side of the canal
  • You must give way to others, e.g. yachts or cruisers
  • Please use the pontoons along the trail
  • Wear appropriate, warm, visible clothing so you can be seen by approaching yachts or cruisers.
  • Do not take to the water at night or in poor visibility
  • Look out for wake caused by larger boats
  • Do NOT swim in the canal
  • Always wear a buoyancy aid
  • Keep mobile phones and GPS equipment in a waterproof bag
  • Do not sail on the canal sections
  • Expect the unexpected and be prepared!!
  • Please inform a friend/family member/accommodation provider/Scottish Canals of your trip, planned duration and keep them updated with any changes.

Loch Safety 

  • You must undertake training prior to paddling on open water
  • Always check the weather forecast and wind direction/strength
  • Remember that the temperature of the Lochs is very cold, at 4̊ C
  • Wear appropriate, warm, visible clothing so you can be seen by approaching yachts or cruisers.
  • Stick to the shore as you paddle along the loch
  • Remain in close proximity to the rest of your group, do not leave any group member alone
  • Allow extra time to stop and seek cover in times of adverse weather
  • Those with an open canoe/kayak should steer clear of the lochs if there are breaking waves
  • Always wear a buoyancy aid
  • Keep mobile phones and GPS equipment in a waterproof bag
  • Please inform a friend/family member/accommodation provider/Scottish Canals of your trip, planned duration and keep them updated with any changes.
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