Mirror calm water for kayaker

Beginners and sea kayak journeys

There is one question that has cropped up in our first two months of business more than any other: can beginners join the trips?

There is a perception that you need to be an experienced canoeist or kayaker (or cyclist or mountain walker) in order to come on our journeys and adventures.

Not true!

All our adventures are bespoke and tailored to your wishes and abilities.

If you are beginners, you may want to meander along, explore beaches and drink coffee. One couple did just that. If you want a physical challenge, as our first client did, then I’m up for that. I will do what I can to make it just demanding enough for you so you come away satisfied.

If you are wondering whether to choose a journey or an adventure, then follow the link to another of our blog posts. This will explain the principle differences and guide you in choosing the appropriate option for you.

Sea kayaking journey with novices

Last week I was fortunate to introduce two people to the joys of sea kayaking on Loch Sunart. They were complete novices and wanted to explore Loch Sunart at their pace. Although confident they would physically manage a longer than usual half day kayaking, they had no idea how quick they would be.

We negotiated the possibility of arriving back late and also that we may not make it far from the bay we were starting. A sheltered start allows everyone to become comfortable in their boat and pick up a few hints and tips from me. Through this gentle start you begin to feel as though you can do this and you want to move on further.


Beginner sea kayaker passing rocky shoreline
Having built confidence in a sheltered bay, this beginner sea kayaker heads out onto Loch Sunart. From here they start their journey home with new confidence.

Had they looked wobbly in their boats with anxious looks on their faces, I would have kept them close to the bay. From here we could explore the islands that were nearby. This would have been a much short journey, but one filled with scenery and wildlife.

As it turned out, they both settled into a comfortable rhythm very quickly. With this in mind, and knowing the finish time was flexible, we set off on a journey of over five miles along Loch Sunart past rock shorelines and Atlantic Oak Woodland. We were also searching for the elusive otters!

Speeding along Loch Sunart in a sea kayak and no longer beginners
Having developed some skills and built confidence, this kayaker heads off independently along Loch Sunart. No doubt in search of wild places they are not be able to see except by canoe or kayak.

Beginners developing confidence and skills

For me it is wonderful to see people of any ability level or age pick up new skills or adapt existing ones. Seeing them ‘grow’ into a journey, no matter whether this is by canoe or kayak. Even an untrained eye could see their bodies begin to relax and the expressions on their faces change.

The conversation also changes from talking about kayaking to talking about wildlife, the stunning scenery or just life in general.

We even debated the similarity between kayaking and meditation – something I had considered in cycling, but not kayaking.

We were blessed on this day to have patches of mirror calm water where we all made great progress. However, we also had a little headwind which occasionally slowed us down. As it stayed warm and dry, we kept up a good speed throughout the day with barely a break.

Rocky shoreline and sea kayaker
With rocky shoreline and stunning Atlantic Woodland all around, it is easy let the kayaking take second fiddle. Explore and discover new wild places that you simply wouldn’t see from anywhere else.

No longer beginners

As a little surprise treat, and no longer a beginner, we stopped on Ardnastang Beach. Here we had a quick brew of coffee and some home made cake as a mini-celebration of their achievements. It was well deserved and earned in my opinion. I am still amazed they how easily they both completed this journey anyhow relaxed they looked throughout. Well done to you both.

Have a look at the photographs on our Facebook page as I add to these quite often. Here you will see the diversity of people I take out, and I hope the pictures will give you the confidence to have a go.

Kayaker on Loch Sunart
Always on the look out for otters or other wildlife! Every paddler gets distracted and begins to feel the journey through their kayak and paddle. They spend less time thinking about the paddling which usually results in achieving a straighter line.

If you would like to arrange your own bespoke adventure (or journey) based upon something you may have seen on our website, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned paddler, put your idea to me. Then I will do what I can to make it happen. Then, like every person I have taken out, you will come back having had your adventure in your wild place.