Loch Shiel Discovery Adventure

Discover Loch Shiel

adult price £220

As your canoe drifts silently over the deep waters of Loch Shiel, you glance upwards to the skyline to see white tailed eagles mimicking your own glides up in the sky. The majesty of their size and ease of movement distracts you from your own efforts as you gaze in admiration.

Continuing your journey, you reach remoter parts of the loch and discover more wildlife and towering scenery as you progress. You also discover some of the history and culture of the place as you journey onwards: Mike Tomkie’s house, St. Finnan’s Island, Shielagh the monster…

At a remote wild camp you take time to soak in the atmosphere of the region and enjoy food provided from a local source as committed to immersive slow adventure experiences as we are.

Leaving the mountains behind and finding the banks drawing nearer, your journey is near an end as you travel onto the River Shiel and onto Loch Moidart to finish in the shadows of the historic Castle Tioram.

  • Activity Level Moderate
  • Group Size Large Group
All about the Discover Loch Shiel.

From Glenfinnan to Castle Tioram, Loch Shiel is steeped in history, culture and wildlife. This two day journey by open canoe (solo or tandem) will enable you to discover and experience much of this for yourself.

You will spend two moderate days (please see the ‘Itinerary’), about five hours each day, canoeing their full length with a qualified and experienced local guide. You may be able to paddle solo if you wish (depending upon numbers booked) and your level of experience, or we can match you with another paddler to go ‘tandem’ if you would prefer. A mixture may be possible and allows us to all have a go at both if you desire.

If weather (i.e. wind direction) is against us, there are still several options open to us. These will be discussed on the first morning if appropriate. Otherwise, we will set out to have two very enjoyable days on the water punctuated by a wild camp, delicious local food and, hopefully, wildlife and cultural discoveries along the way.

Please ensure you read the FAQs as they contain a lot of useful information regrind this trip. Please contact us before booking if anything proves to be a problem for you.

If booking for a group of adventurers, it may be possible to extend this trip and add a day exploring Loch Moidart and Eilean Shona where it may be possible to make a circumnavigation of the island (tide, weather and experience dependent).

Similarly, it is possible to make the trip from Strontian down to Castle Tioram in a day – ideal if you are looking for a family adventure day or are new to canoeing.

Please enquire for either of these possibilities.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of what is included in this tour:

  • Use of our canoes and paddles
  • One 30 litre barrel per boat
  • Buoyancy aid, waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Local, qualified and experienced guide throughout
  • Main meals to include lunch and dinner on the first day as well as breakfast and lunch on the second
  • All cooking equipment
  • Transportation back to Glenfinnan at the end of the trip – can include your own canoe if you wish;

Note: If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to bring it as long as it conforms to appropriate standards and is in serviceable condition. If in doubt, please ask.

Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of what is excluded from this tour:

  • Footwear for paddling in (these are very likely to get wet)
  • Personal clothing
  • Personal wash kit and first aid / medicines
  • Personal eating equipment (cup, plate, bowl, cutlery, etc.)
  • Any additional snacks and drinks you may wish to bring to consume whilst paddling
  • Transportation to and from the agreed meeting location (Dorlin or Glenfinnan)
  • Any accommodation before meeting and after departure
  1. Day 1 October 26th 2017

    Meet at Castle Tioram or Glenfinnan on the first day – please confirm your desired location at the time of booking and times for both will be confirmed upon booking.

    On the first day we will aim to paddle around 12 km, or for about five hours paddling time; but this will depend upon the wind strength and direction and also the abilities of everyone in the group.

    On the way we will keep our eyes and ears peeled for eagles, deer and Shielag…

    Once at our overnight wild campsite, we will work together to prepare and cook dinner which will have been provided for us from locally sourced foods. The exact menu have yet to be decided, so please let us know if you have any allergies or intolerances.

    There are no ’facilities’ at this location other than running water (which will be filtered) and what we can carry with us in our canoes. Cooking equipment and a group tipi will be available for us to shelter in should the weather be typically Scottish.

    The best news is that the midges should have packed their bags and buried their heads before this trip takes place. Which makes sitting outside, watching the sun set and simply talking with likeminded people much more pleasant.

  2. Day 2 October 27th 2017

    Weather dependent, there should not be a rush to set off today as we have approximately 16 km ahead of us, including around 4km of grade 1 river. We anticipate around four to five hours of paddling time with additional time for lunch and breaks.

    So, following a suitably sustaining breakfast, we will decamp and pack up ready to head off before 10.00 am.

    During fishing season paddlers are asked to travel through their principle fishing area between 1 and 2 pm – which is realistic for us. As the fishing season ends at the end of September, this will not be a concern for us.

    There is one notable rapid to negotiate, the state of which is dependent upon the tide time and height. If a rapid is present, we will line the boats down in preference to paddling it. Tuition will be given on the day if needed. Should the rapid be flat, then we will be able to paddle through easily. For this reason, we ask paddlers to bring a helmet with them to wear where lining or paddling the rapid.

    On the date of the trip in October 2017, the  tide will be dropping creating a small rapid at the end of the river where it enters Loch Moidart. At 14:00, when we expect to be passing through, the tide will be around 3.2 metres and dropping slowly.

    With the physical effort and excitement of that over, we will shortly reach Castle Tioram (pronounced Chee-rum) and Loch Moidart where we will be collected. If we arrive early, there may be an opportunity to explore the small island of Loch Moidart or even celebrate with a cup of tea on Eilean Shona…

    It is possible to add a third day to the trip and explore Loch Moidart and Eilean Shona – please enquire before booking. Minimum numbers apply.

    Note: If wind is against us or the paddling proving too strenuous, there are places where we can be picked up along route. However, this is not an overly strenuous journey and we will expect to make the complete trip.


Wild Camping

The accommodation will be a remote wild camp on the shores of Loch Shiel away from civilisation, mobile phones (no signal) and the stresses of modern life.

The exact location is not fixed as this allows flexibility over how far we need to paddle on the first day.

Spacious two person tents with large porch are available for hire at additional cost of £25 per tent, but you are welcome to bring your own.

You will definitely need to bring your own sleeping equipment (sleeping bag, mat, etc.), personal clothing, wash kit and eating equipment.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
  • Local guide to help select the best location for wild camping
  • All cooking equipment
  • Tipi to use as a communal tent at camp
  • Option to hire a two person tent for £15
  • Personal sleeping equipment (sleeping bag, mat, etc.)
  • Personal hygiene and first aid items or medicines
  • Tent, tarp or hammock (option to hire a tent is available)
  • Personal eating equipment (cup, plate, bowl, cutlery, etc.)

There is no definitive kit list for these trips as it is likely you will have some of your own equipment already. Perhaps to is easier to say what we can provide for you and what you will definitely need and leave everything in-between up to you.

We can provide the following:

  • Canoe and paddle
  • Waterproof paddlesport jacket with hood and trousers
  • Buoyancy aid


We can’t provide the following – you should consider begging, borrowing or buying these before the trip:

  • Large bag to keep all your equipment together in the boat
  • Dry bags to keep your equipment dry (we do have one 30 litre barrel per boat to help)
  • Personal sleeping equipment (sleeping bag, mat, etc.)
  • Personal eating equipment (plate, bowl, mug, cutlery, etc.)
  • Personal clothing for paddling and at camp (we suggest a different set for each activity)