Canoe on Loch Maree with Wilderness Scotland

Canoe on Loch Maree with Wilderness Scotland

Canoe on Loch Maree with Wilderness Scotland. Any visit to Wester Ross should include passing by the iconic Loch Maree, fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland. Better still take the time to indulge in some slow tourism and canoe around its islands and learn about its rich history.

All of the loch’s islands are conservation areas – the largest of which is the only island in Britain to contain a loch that itself contains an island.

There is no tide as such, since Loch Maree is an inland loch, however, generally calm and sheltered, but can be choppy in high winds.

Partnership with Outdoor First Aid Limited

Partnership with Outdoor First Aid Limited

Gairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre works in partnership with Outdoor First Aid Limited so all our clients are in safe hands. Not only are all our guides trained in wilderness first aid and carry first aid kits in their boats, but our Centre Manager Cory Jones is the owner of Outdoor First Aid Limited and a wilderness first aid trainer.

First Aid courses

Outdoor First Aid Limited are specialists in Outdoor and Wilderness First Aid training. Another focus is Sports First Aid training. Especially relevant is that we work mainly in Scotland and northern England. Alongside these we regularly run Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work training. The company prides itself on running professional and innovative first aid courses. Noteworthy is that all our trainers are qualified trainers and assessors of outdoor first aid training. Additionally trainers can run these courses at your venue. Courses can be run  for small or large groups of staff. Currently we are registered to work with ITC First, Awarding Organisation.

Sea Kayaking Safety

Sea Kayaking Safety

Sea Kayaking Safety – A great information from RNLI.

  • 18 kayaking and canoeing fatalities between 2011 and 2015 (UK based figures)
  • 320 lifeboat launches to find and/or collect kayakers and canoeists in distress 2016
  • 150 lifeboat launches to find and/or collect kayakers and canoeists in distress in 2017

There are many stories like this one. A man was rescued by Port Erin lifeboat crew and a Fisheries Protection Vessel off the Isle of Man in March 2014. He capsized and was unable to get back in his boat – he spent about an hour clinging to his upturned kayak, trying to attract attention before being spotted. Read about the rescue on

With a few simple precautions of the popular water sports of kayaking or canoeing can become even safer. With more and more people taking up paddling each year whether you’re a start-up novice or a seasoned pro, these safety tips will help you to paddle safe.

How to stay safe

  • Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach: If it can’t be reached in an emergency, it’s no help see bleow).
  • Wear a personal flotation device
  • Check the weather and tides.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and your trip.

Get some training: Contact your local canoe club and look for coaching sessions run by a British Canoeing or Canoeing Ireland coach.

RNLI Safety campaign: Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach

If you can’t reach to call for help, help can’t reach you.

Statistics show that in many cases, kayakers were not able to call for help themselves. They may well have had a means of communication with them, but they simply couldn’t reach it. A mobile phone or radio in the day hatch of your kayak won’t help you if you are injured and can’t open the hatch or if you lose contact with your kayak.

Four of the commonest ways to summon help are listed below.

  • Waterproof handheld Digital Selective calling (DSC) VHF radio
  • Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  • Mobile phone
  • Tracker

Read more on our blog on ‘How to call for HELP”.

Contact us if youa re looking to book a kayaking or canoeing adventure in the NW Highlands.

Canoeing on the iconic Loch Maree

Canoeing on the iconic Loch Maree

Canoeing on the iconic Loch Maree

Gairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre are listed in Lonely Planet as water sports providers in Scotland. The canoeing trips are based on iconic Loch Maree, and includes a landing at Isle Maree to see the penny tree. This trip follows in the footsteps of Queen Victoria.

Lonely Planet is a large travel guide book publisher. The Lonely Planet books were the third series of travel books aimed at backpackers and other low-cost travellers, after the Let’s Go travel guide series that was founded in 1960s.

Canoeing on Loch Maree (Full day)

Sea Kayaking in Scotland Using Viator

Sea Kayaking in Scotland Using Viator

Sea Kayaking in Scotland Using Viator. Kayaking and canoeing listed on ViatorGairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre is listed on Viator as providers of kayaking and canoeing activities in the north west Highlands. Listings for sea kayaking can be found on viator at Full Day Sea Kayaking around Gairloch 2019.

Spend the day in the great outdoors during this 6-hour kayaking trip around Gairloch. Follow your guide along the sheltered coastline of Gairloch and search for native wildlife such as otters and seals. This tour is ideal for novice kayakers who want a relaxed excursion around the waters and are interested in learning more about the Scottish Highlands.

Sea Kayaking in Scotland in Lonely Planet

Sea Kayaking in Scotland in Lonely Planet

Kayak with Lonley Planet recognised guides

Sea Kayaking in Scotland in Lonely Planet. Gairloch Canoe and Kayak Centre is listed with Lonely Planet as a great organisation to go sea kayaking with in the Gairloch area. The listing is on the Lonely Planet website and describes the kayaking experience along the coastline looking for seals and otters.

A full review can be seen on their website – Full Day Sea Kayaking around Gairloch

Lonely Planet is a large travel guide book publisher. The Lonely Planet books were the third series of travel books aimed at backpackers and other low-cost travellers, after the Let’s Go travel guide series that was founded in 1960s.

Otterburn Self-catering cottages

Otterburn Self-catering cottages, Melvaig

Otterburn Self-catering cottages

Otterburn self catering melvaigWhy not come and stay for a week at one of our self-catering cottages. They are only a few hundred metres from the Melvaig jetty which launches you straight into the Minch on the way to the Isle of Skye. This is a world class sea kayaking destination; cliffs, caves, arches and remote sandy beaches.

There are two cottages which can be hired separately or together for larger parties. Each cottage has a twin and a double room so can accommodate four people. The views form the two conservatoires are wonderful – straight across the Minch to the Isle of Skye.

The cottages gained the name Otterburn because our local otters do follow the small burn behind the cottages up to the moors higher up on the hill to bathe in freshwater. As all otters need to bath in freshwater to maintain waterproof fur this happens on a regular basis.

Oran Mara B&B

Oran Mara B&B

Oran Mara B&B

Oran Mara. B&BWhy not come and stay at our B&B just outside Gairloch, in beautiful Melvaig? Oran Mara is the house name and it means ‘The Sound of the Sea’ in Gaelic. The house is within a few hundred metres of the ocean. Ideal for taking a stroll on the beach.

On a good day we can launch our kayaks at Melvaig jetty and paddle under the cliffs and arches around the Melvaig headland.

Our B&B is quiet and relaxed, and the room comes with microwave, kettle, toaster, TV and DVDs. Our B&B room contains a comfortable double bed and has a dining table for reading or eating at.

Ideal for an overnight on the North Coast 500 or for a few days break. There are plenty of local walks round the sea cliffs and headlands.

Oran Mara B&BContact for more details.


Sea Eagles on Loch Maree

Sea Eagles on Loch Maree

Sea Eagles on Loch Maree. Sea Ealges hey were a common sight across Scotland during the 19th century until persecution drove them to UK extinction. The last eagle was shot in 1918. They are now a globally endangered species with only around 10,000 pairs in the world, a third of which live in Norway.

The first sea eagles were reintroduced to the Isle of Rum in 1975 and then at Loch Maree in Wester Ross between 1993 and 1998. These birds have established an increasing breeding population on the west coast of Scotland.



How is reintroduction carried out?

In 1959 and 1968 attempts were made to reintroduce the sea eagle to Scotland but they did not involve sufficient numbers of birds, nor did they continue long enough to guarantee success. So in 1975, the Nature Conservancy Council (now called Scottish Natural Heritage) instigated a longer term reintroduction project. This was based on the Isle of Rum, a mountainous National Nature Reserve in the Inner Hebrides, where sea eagles had bred until 1907. It was also within sight of the last breeding pair in Skye.

Over the next ten years to 1985, a total of 82 eaglets (39 males and 43 females) were imported, under special licence, from nests in northern Norway where the sea eagle population was still expanding. Since the sea eagle often rears twins only one chick was taken from each nest and, such was the density of breeding pairs that different nests could be visited each time.

With generous assistance from RAF 120 Squadron, the eaglets – nearly fledged – were transported swiftly and safely to Kinloss in Scotland, and from there to the Isle of Rum. Installed in roomy cages on a remote shore the chicks were fed a natural diet of fish, birds and mammals, while they completed a statutory five weeks in quarantine. Once they were released food dumps were maintained nearby to supplement the birds’ diet and while they perfected their hunting skills. Even without parental example the young eagles became fully independent over the next few months and soon ranged further afield

Breeding success is achieved

Sea eagles take about five years to mature, so it was several years before the youngsters released on Rum began to form breeding pairs. The first eggs were laid in 1983, but failed to hatch, as did two clutches in 1984. However, in 1985 a pair of Rum birds now established on the nearby island of Mull, successfully reared the first wild sea eagle chick to be fledged in Britain for over 70 years. Progress was slow at first (with only half a dozen young from 8 or so pairs). So between 1993 and 1998 a further 58 Norwegian eaglets were set free, this time in Wester Ross. Momentum gathered and by the twenty fifth anniversary of the start of the project a dozen youngsters were reared from 22 pairs, including the hundredth chick to be fledged in the wild. By 2003 just over 30 pairs were established and a record 26 eaglets took to the wing. A further 19 followed in 2004.

Scotland can today boast over 100 pairs of Sea Eagles.

Paddling in search of Otters

Paddling in search of Otters……

otter-with-crabPaddling in search of Otters. Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. The Scottish popultaion is estimated to be around 8000 otters. Otters are largely solitary, semi-aquatic mammals that get most of their food from lochs, rivers or the sea.

In Scotland there is only one species of Otter (LUTRA LUTRA) and it can live in the sea of freshwater.

Otters live along many of Scotland’s waterways, but head for the west coast and the islands for the best chance of spotting them.

Otters are one of our top predators, feeding mainly on fish, waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans. Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as a ‘holt’. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. Otters are well suited to a life on the water as they have webbed feet, dense fur to keep them warm and can close their ears and nose when underwater.

Otters are seen about 30% of the time on our sea kayaking trips.


Contact us to fin out more;