West Coast Kayaking

26th February 2018

If you are seeking an escape, there can be no sound more welcome than the gentle swish of your own oar cutting through the water, the only other disturbance on an otherwise empty horizon.

Sea Kayaking is growing in popularity as an activity that combines nature and exercise in a setting that you can move through without leaving even a footprint behind.

Our local ‘Review Magazine’ gave it a try:

“You’re learning to kayak at the perfect time.” our guide told us as we huffed and puffed, dragging our kayaks over slippery rocks to the Loch Linnnhe shore

“There are plenty of places to explore, but the sport is still catching on here, so the best spots haven’t got too crowded”

Our experience began with a safety briefing, including the all-important capsize drill, when we were (thankfully) assured we would not be forced to roll our vessels if we did not want to.

While this claim was true, I still managed to tip my vessel over within minutes and though the chill of the water took my breath away, the dry suit kept everything bar my head and hands warm and I was rescued so calmly and quickly the incident was quickly forgotten.

Having passed Castle Stalker many time by road rounding the coastline to approach and circle it took on a whole new mystique. We stopped for lunch on a bloom covered island just feet away from it and we felt like adventurers encountering an undiscovered treasure for the first time – even the resident Canada goose seemed unconcerned by our presence.

The sense of being at one with wildlife continued throughout our trip – at one point a seal popped its head up out of the water and bobbed up and down on the waves, watching us pass.

There was no doubt he had seen us but our presence didn’t seem to bother him in the slightest.

The West Coast is Scotland’s most popular place to sea kayak and there is a reason; it’s also known as the best.

The light is remarkable, the landscape imposing and the environment rich and unspoilt. But most importantly, it is still quiet enough that you can believe yourself a real explorer.

Physically, paddling was fairly demanding, and our arms and legs fairly stiff the next morning, but we were assured there would be less impact as our technique improved.

Technical basics such as turning and steering were tricky at the start of the day, but it only took a few hours and some gentle pointers to build our confidence to the extent that as we lugged our kayaks back to the trailer, I was already planning the next expedition.

Guided Sea Kayak experiences are available from a selection of operators around the West Coast.

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