may have an oppertunity for a long weekend in scotland canoeing, how late can you get away with this weather wise?
You can paddle in Scotland all year around - I do. Obviously, winter days have fewer daylight hours, so you need to factor that in, and are more likely to be cold and wet, but I was caught in hail in both May and June this year, and it's often warm enough to paddle in a t-shirt in March or October (even January if you are 'hard' enough!).
And if you want decent white water, winter tends to be better because of the rain.
Well, what sort of canoeing? As Damien suggests, if it's Mad Stuff then winter tends to mean more water, which is good. But if it's comfortable touring then that's a different matter.
And what's the experience backing you up? if it's for a learning trip then there's an awful lot of opportunity to get cold, if you've got lots of stars already then you can just get on with it to keep warm. If you're a relative noon then I'd say the start of October might be a reasonable place to draw the line.
I think you should look to Clearwater paddling. A tour company that is very, very highly rated but also hire out sea kayaks I think. They are up in the far north eastern Islands (Shetlands / Orkneys) but do lots of trips too say Knoydart, which is where I would want to go as you can paddle round the coast and walk the rough bounds as well. Try to lay your hands on an old Trail mag from about 6 years ago as they did an excellent kayak / walking holiday route involving sea lochs that feed off each other with plenty of Munros and the tother smaller ones too. Three dayer I think, but It just means leaving your gear and going for more walks on the extra days.
Of course a purely sea kayaking trip worthy splashing the cash on is round Jura. I know many who have done that and quite simply it has everything. Loverly wild camping, cave sleeping and whisky diistilleries to tempt even the most Methodist of you (no offence meant).
And one last thing, please make sure you really know what you are doing before doing any sea paddling. I am a whitewater paddler skilled and highly experienced after 20 something years of paddling yet I would not venture out onto the sea without someone with more experience of that type of paddling. I have some but just do not know enough about tides and tidal currents, etc, to do it alone.
Hey if you are considering a Jura trip Calmac will let you put the kayak on the car deck at the side for a small fee which gives you the option of leaving your car at Kennecraig. I live on Islay and would strongly recommend getting off the ferry at Port Askaig and kayaking south then west into the skerries and islands along Islays south coast which has paddling to rival anywhere. Keep paddling west along the south coast till you reach Port Ellen where you can catch the ferry back to your start point on the mainland. Another excellent route is from Port Askaig heading over to the Jura side and up into Loch Tarbert and then after a portage back into the sea to return to your start at Port Askaig via Craighouse for a few drams!!
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