River Spey Open Canoe Expedition

River Spey Open Canoe Expedition

20 Dec 2013 - Emma

An open canoe river trip experience from Cumbria to Scotland

Most of our outdoor activities take place in the Lake District but we are partial to trips away and one of our favourites in Scotland is a canoe expedition on the river Spey.  Here is a little taster of an open canoe river expedition the Distant Horizons team recently ran. 

The mighty river Spey is on the Eastern coast of Scotland and this particular canoe expedition took in 60 miles from Loch Einch through the Cairngorm national park and eventually to Spey Bay on the coast.  The canoe journey took 3 days and the river passed through some of the most stunningly scenic locations Scotland has to offer, of course to get the most out of this open canoe trip we had to sample the local Spey side whiskeys as well.

The canoe trip actually started in Cumbria with a taster day on the beautiful River Eden which runs north from Lazonby to Armathwaite.  This gave us an opportunity to see how everyone would manage paddling on a river with a similar technicality to that of the River Spey but without the heavy loads of a big canoe expedition. Our group struck lucky with the weather and were able to make a fantastic decent of the river Eden which is ideally suited for open boat canoeing, however by the end one of the canoes had capsized at least 4 times and the paddlers were getting rather cold.  Good job we were only out for the day!

That evening the van was packed and prepared with the rest of the canoe and camping equipment needed for the long journey ahead and as soon as the sun was rising we were packed up and on the road to Scotland.  The first day on the River Spey was great; the group took it easy and navigated the top section until it became dark.  Our camp for the night was close to Boat of Garten which provided us with a secluded and perfect area next to the river to pitch our tents and park our canoes.  Once we were fed and sat next to the fire we really started to appreciate how amazing this part of the world was and how satisfying it was to be here with a good crowd.

The next day we had a late start, maybe it was the peaceful and relaxed environment, maybe it was the whiskey.  Either way we had to make a move quickly and get as far down the river as possible.  Again we were blessed with another beautiful day of Scottish weather and this posed the opportunity to get some great pictures and videos, although there was plenty of wildlife around as well but we weren’t quick enough to capture them all.  This amazing river wound its way through the Scottish Highlands for the next 2 days and the rain held the entire time.  Despite the cold and our frozen gunnels on the canoes we were very excited and content to be in this fantastic place.

On the third day we reached Spey Bay, although we were happy to have completed the river and were able to get into clean and dry clothes I think deep down we all wanted to go again.  “Who’s up for round 2” could be heard as we pulled into the shore and started to pack our canoes away.  The River Spey is a beautiful and exciting river trip and both Jason and Dan can’t wait to return for another canoe adventure.  Are you up for it?  Contact us on 017684 86465 if you fancy your own river trip expedition, whether you fancy a visit to Scotland or to experience the rivers in the Lake District and Cumbria we can arrange your ideal trip.

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