RIVER SPEY ADVENTURE

Canoe Spey.jpg

Overview
The River Spey in Scotland's Cairngorm National Park is no ordinary river. Most rivers start fast and the flow eases as they approach the sea. The Spey is different; it starts slow and gets quicker. This makes for a great adventure; over the 70 mile journey we'll build up skills and confidence before tackling Grade 1 & Grade 2 rapids.  

This canoe-camping adventure is a great follow event for anyone that has been on the Canoe Scotland event, or has other paddling experience. We start on Loch Insh, near Aviemore (a lovely outdoor town in the Cairngorms) and paddle to Spey Bay and the North Sea. You will have the opportunity to pass the perfectly manicured lawns of salmon fishing huts, some of the stunning Speyside whisky distilleries (drawn to the area by the quality of the water) and incredible wildlife including deer, pine martens, wild cats, badgers, buzzards and nesting ospreys. There is even the chance to see seals, Bottlenose dolphins and occasionally Minke whales at Spey Bay. This is a truly magical adventure. 

What's included?

  • Adventure Breaks host and guide.

  • Adventure Breaks' detailed pre-adventure guide.

  • All canoeing equipment (canoe, paddle, buoyancy aid, helmet, canoe trolley).

  • A waterproof barrel each to keep personal gear dry.

  • Camping fees.

  • Transportation from Spey Bay (end) to Aviemore (start).

  • A bottle of Speyside whisky to share amongst the group after a hard day's paddling.

  • New friends; skills, experiences and a sense of achievement!

Where is it?

We meet for a pub lunch in Kincraig near Aviemore (PH21 1NA). The paddle ends at Spey Bay in Inverness. We offer guests free transport back to the start after the event.

Join the Adventure

Tickets are available below for £795 per person.

Or to set up a monthly payment plan, click Fund your Adventure.​

AVAILABLE: Monday 15th August 2022 at midday to midday on Saturday 20th August 2022 (Click here to book).

Further information

Please scroll down for more detailed information.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

Itinerary

Day One

Adventure Breaks are solo-friendly; most people book onto trips by themselves and come away with a great set of new friends. Arrive in Kincraig (near Aviemore) and enjoy lunch and cakes at the Old Post Office Cafe (see photo below). This is a great informal way to start the weekend and meet the other guests.

After lunch we launch the canoes on the flat water of Loch Insh, giving you a few hours to familiarise yourself with the canoe again and practice some techniques before we join the river ahead. The water flows gently at first, to practice a few more techniques, before moving on to put these skills to the test with a Grade 1 rapid. The remainder of the afternoon is spent tackling some fun easy rapids, stopping at some lovely spots along the way until we reach our first camp. Throughout the day we have the stunning Cairngorm Mountains as our scenic backdrop, including the outline of Ben Macdui, Britain's second highest mountain.

Day Two

We kick start the day with a series of small rapids, and pass the first of the red banks that are sand martin colonies. Around lunchtime we tackle some Grade 1 rapids and a pass a bridge built in the 1800s that replaced the ferry that gave Boat of Garten village its name. In the afternoon we have the opportunity to put up the sails and progress towards this evening's camp. If you fancy stretching your legs, take a wander over to the standing stones of Tom Nan Carragh.

Day Three

The river is starting to pick up speed now, and this is reflected in the day's rapids; Grade 1 and Grade 1+. We pass through some woods teeming with wildlife, as well as a fishing hut that was regularly used by King Edward VII. 

King's Hut

Day Four

Today is an exciting day as we pass the point where the River Avon, a tributary of the River Spey, joins the flow. This is one of the reasons that the Spey gets faster as it makes it's way to the sea. After the Avon joins, we test our new skills on the first Grade 2 rapids. One of these, the Blacksboat rapid, is affectionately called 'the Washing Machine' - we stop after this to bail the boats out before continuing our journey! The video below shows our instructor tackling the Washing Machine, followed by a guest (the guest is 'solo-ing'; typically we go tandem - i.e. two people per canoe).

Day Five

The final leg to the ocean is a stunning setting as we pass beautiful lawns and huts of fishing estates. There are some more rapids for us to paddle though, interspersed with impressive red cliffs and crags on the right hand side of the river. We have an opportunity to enjoy some cake at a cafe and watch ospreys soaring overhead as they fish. The air turns salty as we continue our final descent to the sea. If the conditions are right, we may get the chance to paddle out to the ocean, where seals and dolphins are common, and sometimes whales make an appearance too.   

Minke Whale.jpg

The event finishes at lunchtime and we can give you a lift back to the start point after to collect your car (approx 2 hours).

Transport/Getting there
We meet at the Old Post Office Cafe in Kincraig near Aviemore (PH21 1QA) and finish at Spey Bay next to the Scottish Dolphin Centre (IV32 7PJ).

We can offer guests free transport from Spey Bay (end) to Kincraig (start) after the event.

Driving – If you are driving, the postcode to follow is PH21 1QA (there are places to park after lunch).

Public Transport - Trains and a good coach service connect Aviemore with Glasgow and Edinburgh and take around 3 hours. 

Glasgow (West Coast Line) and Edinburgh (East Coast Line) have trains to most major cities in England including London (4.5 hours), Birmingham (4 hours), Manchester (3.25 hours) and Leeds (3 hours).


Food and Drink

You will be able to buy food and drink along the way but you will need to bring some food supplies with you. We will send more details and suggestions to you prior to the event.

Frequently Asked Questions
Coronavirus - We expect to be able to operate these event as planned. However, if restrictions mean it is not practical to proceed with an event, you will be able to reschedule for the same event on a different date or an alternative Adventure Break weekend. 

Solo-friendly - The majority of our guests attend by themselves and we will make you feel welcome. This staycation is a great way to make new friends, and an Adventure Breaks host will meet you when you arrive, introduce you to other guests and ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves throughout the event.

Equipment - Canoes and all canoe-related gear are provided. You will need camping equipment for this trip, most people will bring their own but you can also email us if you would like to hire or buy camping gear. You will need to bring sensible outdoor clothing - we will give you more information on this before the event but broadly it includes waterproofs, wellies and some warm clothing.

Experience - We recommend that you have prior paddling experience. The Canoe Scotland event is a great way to do this.  You do not need prior canoeing or paddling experience. It is recommended that you build up to a good level of fitness before the event - walking is a great way to do this, or other forms of exercise such as cycling. Some experience of camping is recommended - check out our Camping for Beginners events.

Weather - Don't let the weather put you off; the average July rainfall is 53mm in Inverness, only slightly more than 50mm in London [Source: Met Office]. Maximum temperatures are around 19 degrees Celsius, and the summer days are longer than they are further south.  

Join the Adventure

Tickets are available below for £795 per person.

Or to set up a monthly payment plan, click Fund your Adventure.​

AVAILABLE: Monday 15th August 2022 at midday to midday on Saturday 20th August 2022 (Click here to book).

River Spey Adventure (15th August 2022)
15 Aug 2022, 12:00
Kincraig,
1 Braeriach Rd, Kincraig, Kingussie PH21 1QA, UK
Can you make it?
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