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NEW Bushcraft Canoe Expedition - River Spey, Scotland




The River Spey in north-east Scotland is a fantastic touring river - scenic wooded shores and white water that is enjoyable, yet not too daunting for the novice canoeist. The journey starts with gentle meanders and small rapids, allowing you to build up your confidence before the larger rapids towards the end of the trip.

The expedition is a four day canoe journey starting from Loch Insh, high up the river and ending at the sea. We will be combining white water canoe skills, bushcraft and nature watching while en route.

The trip should suit anyone from a moderate river canoeist to a beginner - we will train you in the skills required to negotiate the river with confidence.

Travelling by canoe can be great for watching wildlife. On a recent trip down this river we saw an otter (it carried on fishing midstream while we drifted past it!), ospreys and a variety of waterfowl.

The distance to be travelled is around 60 miles and the river is classified as grade 2 - we will be wild camping at strategic points along the river.


You will spend four full days, covering the following:

  • basic paddling (for beginners)
  • white water skills such as breaking in and out, ferry gliding which would contribute towards necessary 3 star BCU experience
  • basic camp craft such as leaving no trace
  • knife and saw use
  • primitive firelighting techniques with reference to local tinders and cooking on a fire
  • local plants and their uses
  • shelter principles, clothing, and how to set up a hammock and tarp system (available for hire or purchase on the expedition)
  • identification and ecology of wild animals encountered en route


The course is open to novice canoeists and bushcrafters, though some experience is a definite advantage. You will be given basic canoe instruction on the first day - there will usually be two people paddling 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 and
  • have a sense of humour!


The price £420 includes instruction, canoe usage, and all meals while on the expedition. 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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