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Bushcraft Canoe Expedition - Loch Shiel, Scotland





Loch Shiel is a 17 mile long freshwater loch in a beautiful and remote part of the West Coast of Scotland. It makes for a classic canoe journey, steeped in Scottish history, abounding with wildlife and a truly varied and spectacular landscape! The expedition begins at Glenfinnan featured as the location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. From here you can watch the steam train pass over the viaduct in front of the Glenfinnan monument. This area is home to a variety of highland wildlife such as eagles, pinemartens, otters, deer and wildcats. The loch eventually narrows and flows into the River Shiel which meanders down to the sea with a short rapid section before entering Loch Moidart. This a truely stunning area with wooded islands and the ruined Tioram Castle.


You will spend four full days in the wilderness learning about:

  • basic paddling
  • coastal foraging (shell fish etc.)
  • primitive firelighting (sparks and friction with reference to local tinders e.g. horse's hoof fungus)
  • local plants and their uses
  • safe traversing of wild terrain by canoe and on foot
  • local history
  • highland wildlife (e.g. eagles, deer, otters etc.)


A more detailed itinerary will be supplied with the course specific Joining instructions but the following will give a you an idea about the journey.

We will meet at our Wildwood base near to Fort William on the first evening. The next day we will begin the expedition in entering Loch Sheil at Glenfinnan. We will paddle about half way down the loch to a beautiful beach with surrounding Oak woods - there we will stop for a day to learn bushcraft skills such as firelighting and plant identification. On day 3 we will continue our journey visiting the island with ruined chapel and then join the River Shiel. We will continue to spend the night in Loch Moidart and will spend day 4 exploring the loch before exiting the loch and returning to base for a well earned beer!


The course is open to novice canoeists and bushcrafters, though the some experience is a definite advantage. You will be given basic canoe instruction on the first day - there will be two people paddling and carrying each canoe and we will aim to pair up experienced with non-experienced canoeists where possible (unless you prefer to canoe with a companion).

You must:

  • be over 18 years old;
  • have some outdoor experience (e.g. hill walking, camping, adventure sports, bushcraft etc.)
  • have a reasonable level of physical fitness
  • be able to swim 200 metres and
  • have a sense of humour!

This location is wild and isolated so you need to be good at adapting to local conditions both good and bad!


You will need to bring a small tent, or a hammock and tarp (midge net is essential). A kit list will be detailed in the joining instructions.


The price £420 includes instruction, canoe usage, and all food while on the expedition plus meals and all camping accommodation (we will camp near our Wildwood base on the first and last nights). During the trip we aim to prepare meals which include locally produced or foraged ingredients, and which are free range and/or organic wherever possible - you should not go hungry!

To reserve a place now you need to pay a deposit of £100 - the balance is due two calendar months in advance of the course.



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