Post-festival paddle: Isles of the Clyde

Would you like to make the most of your travel to Bute? Why not stay on after the festival and join us for a 4 day exploration of the Clyde.

Firth of Clyde trip: Monday 20th – Thurs 23rd August 2018

  • 4 days sea kayak touring around the stunning islands of the Firth of Clyde
  • Wild camping in beautiful coastal locations
  • Suitable for improver/intermediate kayakers with some kayaking experience, including paddling in winds up Beaufort Force 3.
  • Coaching if and when you want it
  • Open to all paddlers
  • Run and guided by Alice McInnes
  • Cost: £280pp

The Firth of Clyde has everything a sea kayaker could wish for: beautiful scenery, islands to circumnavigate, sheltered lochs and open crossings. The unique industrial heritage of the upper reaches of the Clyde contrasts  with the open vistas of the outer stretches which offer areas of undoubted remoteness, where wildlife is abundant. Islands we might visit include Bute, Arran, Inchmarnock and the Cumbraes, and up into Loch Fyne. Whatever the weather, the Firth of Clyde has options for us to explore.

You should be capable of paddling in winds up to force 3-4 and we will aim to be paddling for 5-6 hours a day, with the necessary breaks for food. Please ask if you are not sure whether you have suitable experience. Opportunities for coaching will be available for anyone wanting some input to their paddling. This trip is suitable for those who have never camped from a kayak before. 

Minimum group size 2 people, maximum group size 4 people. Kayak hire is available at an additional cost of £45 for the whole trip.

Timings We will get together Sunday evening to discuss and plan our trip. Our launch site and exact itinerary will be largely determined by the weather. 

Practicalities: For those attending the Women’s Sea Kayak Festival, the supermarket in Rothesay is ideal for picking up supplies. Please note that you are responsible for getting from Ettrick Bay to the launch site.

Day 1 (Monday): meet at the launch site at 11am, allowing us time to pack the boats, launch, and have a gentle warm-up paddle before lunch and then head to our first campsite.

The next 2 days will be spent exploring the area, before returning back to our start point around early afternoon on our final day.

To booking you place contact Alice on   further details can be found at

Equipment and kit list:

This is a wild camping trip, and you will need to be self-sufficient for the duration of the four days. If you have travelled from overseas we may be able to lend you the bulkier/heavier items. And if you are missing something please get in touch in advance and we’ll try and help you out. We recommend all kit be stored in dry-bags in your kayak – there’s nothing worse than setting up camp and realising you have a soggy sleeping bag. If you haven’t camped from a kayak before we would be delighted to help and advise.

  • Tent – this should be able to withstand unpredictable Scottish weather conditions: no £5 pop-ups please!
  • Sleeping bag – appropriate for the time of year. Your sleeping bag should have an indicated comfort temperature on it so you can check it’s suitable. Make sure you can pack it small enough to fit in your boat
  • Sleeping mat – be aware that foam yoga-style mats, while cheap and lightweight, can be hard to pack in a kayak.
  • Stove, fuel & lighter/matches
  • A cooking pot & cutlery, plates and a mug
  • Food – weight is less of an issue with kayak camping, so you can easily bring things like fresh pasta, microwave rice that takes very little water to cook, etc. Tea bags, hot chocolate, or the bottle of wine that’s the only thing you can sensibly fit in the nose of your boat! Don’t forget the chocolate and cake!
  • Water – depending on where we make camp there might not be an option to refill water bottles, so make sure you have enough drinking water for at least 2 days’ paddling plus anything you might need for cooking, hot drinks etc. I usually allow around 4 litres per day
  • Spare dry clothes and a lightweight towel
  • Warm clothes for wearing round camp
  • Wind / waterproofs for wearing around camp if it’s raining
  • Shoes appropriate for wearing round a wild campsite
  • Personal toiletries: Baby wipes are useful for “washing”
  • Any personal medication, contact lenses, etc – if you’re at all worried about the waterproofing of these please let us know and we can help
  • Midge repellent and midge head net
  • A rubbish bag – we aim to Leave no Trace

Report from our trip last time…

We had a great time – the sun shone, and we paddled, ate and even swam! Stay in touch for next time.