Articles - Scottish Sea Kayaking Destinations

Sea Kayaking in Scotland
Sea Kayaking in Scotland
Canoe & Kayak UK Editorial - Images courtesy of Doug Cooper - - Posted on 18 Aug 2014
Scotland is blessed with all types of fantastic water to go canoeing & kayaking on, but it is its coastline and the sea kayaking that it offers that truly is the jewel in its watery crown. If you where to drive from the borders to Scotland’s most northerly point at John O’ Groats it wouldn’t seem all that big, a few hundred miles or so. But undertake that same journey around its coastline and you’ll discover thousands of miles of inlets, coves, sea caves and islands to explore, and the sea kayak is the perfect craft for the job. It really is one of the best places to go sea kayaking in the world!Sea Kayaking In Scotland

Its abundance of breathtaking sea kayak trips attracts paddlers from far and wide to enjoy Scotland’s coast and it offers everything from an easy-going day-trip to full on expeditions to the Outer-Hebrides. Everywhere you go you’ll encounter a plethora of wildlife, ancient culture and of course the famous Scottish hospitality.

The wild West Coast and the Inner and Outer Hebrides are very popular destinations, and for the adventurous and experienced sea kayaker the Northern Isles of the Fair Isle, Orkney and Shetland have a special draw. If you’re already a hardened sea dog then planning and organising a trip to Scotland will all be part of the fun, but if you’re looking to dip a paddle in to sea kayaking it can also be an ideal location to give it a go. There are many companies offering sea kayak coaching and guiding services and this can be an ideal way of enjoying your first taste of Scotland’s salt water.

There are so many classic Scottish sea kayaking trips that we could easily fill a very large book, but here are just a few of our favourites to give you flavour of what’s on offer.


Offers some fantastic sandy beaches, rugged reefs and wild life in abundance. Enjoy the beauty of the area as seals swim curiously under your boat; it’s quite simply a magical sea kayaking area.

Many say that Knoydart is the UK’s last wilderness, and we tend to agree. Loch Hourn and Loch Nevis offer the sea kayaker a truly remote wilderness paddling experience.


The Small Isles
The Isles of Canna, Muck, Rum and Eigg, offer the more experienced sea kayaker a challenge to paddle out to them and explore around their varied coastlines. Or join a guided group and enjoy the journey while keeping a look out for the basking sharks!

Crossing the Skye Bridge opens up a new world of sea paddling opportunities. With the backdrop of the dramatic Black Cuillin mountain range, paddling into Loch Coruisk in the south of Skye is a magical experience and epic in its scale. Sea kayaking on Skye however isn’t just about the Cuillin. The basalt columns on the north coast are impressive or you could head out and explore the nearby islands of Raasay and Rona, or take on the challenge of the Kyle of Lochalsh with its eight knots of tide!


As you arrive on the ferry into Castlebay you’ll enjoy splendid views of Kisimul Castle, the clan seat of the MacNeils. For the experienced exploring the islands of Sandray, Pabbay, Mingulay and Berneray to the south is not for the timid, but they offer a sea kayak journey that’s difficult to rival anywhere in the world. If the weather Gods smile upon you then paddling below the spectacular cliffs of Barra Head and Mingulay is an unforgettable experience.

Isle of Lewis
The Butt of Lewis, as famed by the shipping forecast, is the most northwesterly point in the whole of Europe. With the sun shining you could easily be forgiven that you where paddling in the Caribbean as the light glitters off the turquoise water and shining white sands.


Orkney is an archipelago of over seventy islands and skerries. Despite its remote location and northerly latitude it still enjoys a reasonably warm climate and has much to offer all levels of sea kayaker and has a multitude of excellent trips. There are signs everywhere of Orkney’s distant past and the place is steeped in ancient culture and legend. A trip on Orkney is much like the whisky that is distilled there, best savoured slowly and carefully  

Shetland is the most northerly part of the British Isles and, like Orkney is made up of a group of islands and skerries. It offers some serious and committing adventures for the experienced, but those slightly less salty sea dogs will still find plenty of stunning paddling, with a coast riddled with caves and coves and isolated beaches there is a rich vein of history, wildlife and wild natural beauty to mine.

Useful info:
The Northern Isles Orkney and Shetland Sea Kayaking published by Pesda Press
Scottish Sea Kayak Trail by Pesda Press
Scottish Sea Kayaking - 50 Great Sea Trips by Pesda Press

Back to UK Destinations

Your Comments

Tell us what you think...

You must be logged in to leave a comment. You can log in here.
If you don't have a user account please register.

Recently Added Articles

10 Great Reasons to Book on a Canoeing or Kayaking Course

30 Apr 2015

Booking on to a course is a great way to fast track your personal skills and increase your knowledge.

Buying a Canoe or Kayak - Choosing the Right Canoe or Kayak For You

07 Feb 2015

All you need to know about buying a canoe or kayak, to get out canoeing & kayaking this spring.

Canoe & Kayak Coaching Tips - Are We Over-Thinking?

10 Oct 2014

BC Level 5 Coach Ross Montandon questions the questions and asks do we sometimes over-think things on the water?

Where to Go Surf Kayaking in Scotland

19 Aug 2014

A guide to some od Scotland's best kept surf kayaking secrets...

A Kayaking Pilgrimage of Heroes - The Pilgrim Bandits vs. The Gironde Estuary

12 Jun 2014

A demanding kayaking challenge in the paddle strokes of the Cockleshell Heroes

Interview with Adventurer Dave Cornthwaite - Stand Up Paddle Boarding The Mississippi River

30 May 2014

A modern day adventurer Dave’s on a mission to complete 25 journeys, all over a thousand miles and all utilising non-motorised transport.

Others in this Category

An Inflatable Canoe & Inflatable Kayak Adventure in the Scottish Highlands

16 Mar 2014

Inflatable canoes & inflatable kayaks unlock an amazing outdoor adventure in the Highlands of Scotland...

A Paddler’s Guide to the Afon Conwy

03 Jan 2014

Co-Author of the Welsh Rivers Guidebook Tom Laws presents a canoeing & kayaking guide to the Afon Conwy in North Wales. Quite possibly the quintessential Welsh whitewater river. With a variety of sect

10 Great Winter Canoeing & Kayaking Trips

04 Dec 2013

Don’t let the short daylight hours and plummeting temperatures put a stop to your paddling this season: here are 10 great canoe & kayak paddling routes for winter…

The 50 Best Whitewater River Sections in the UK - according to Canoe & Kayak UK

15 Sep 2013

As the UK whitewater season is upon us, we thought we’d celebrate by giving you the Canoe & kayak UK low-down on what we think are the 50 best whitewater river runs in the UK. From remote, rapid strew

The Palm Big Paddle Tour - Event 1 Llanberris

05 Jul 2013

Event report from the first leg of the 2013 Palm BIG Paddle Tour, Llanberis, North Wales

10 Great Open Canoe Trip Destinations

01 May 2013

There are few things more relaxing than cruising along a gently flowing river in a canoe, or across the glass like, mirror flat surface of a lake of loch, listening to nothing but the ripples from you

RSS Feeds YouTube Twitter Facebook E-Newsletter
Advertisement Picture

Advertisement Picture