About us

Our ethos

We place our clients at the centre of everything we do. Our advice, whether in the shop or on the water, will always be tailored to you and your needs. This includes being honest if we think someone else’s product will suit you better. On the water we work hard to give you the best possible experience. For short, one-off trips that means ensuring you have the right equipment, and that the level of challenge is right for you. On courses we do that as well, but we also focus on your long-term goals, thinking not just about what you’ll learn with us, but how you can take that away and keep learning, developing and enjoying your paddling wherever it takes you. On expeditions we want you to feel part of a team, and will involve you in the decisions on where we go, how far we paddle, and how we pace ourselves.
Sea kayaking immerses you in the outdoors, and we are passionate about caring for that environment. We are constantly reviewing and adapting our methods to try and reduce waste, including moving to recycled packaging for our online shop. We work with our suppliers to reuse as much as possible, such as sending back kayak packaging to the manufacturers for re-use. When paddling, we take care not to disturb wildlife. Group sizes are kept small not only for a better experience but also to minimise our impact, particularly when camping. We aim not just to leave no trace of our own passage, we actively try and leave places in better condition than we found them, and small-scale litter picks are an integral part of lunch stops and camping pack-ups.

Who we are

Sea Kayak Oban has been running for over a decade. In 2019, when the previous owners retired, Mark and Laura took over the reins. As well as the team featured here, we use various freelance instructors and guides, all chosen for their experience, abilities, and sunny dispositions.

Laura on the sea

Laura Bennitt

Owner, guide and instructor

Since moving to Scotland in 2005, I’ve spent as much time as possible outdoors. Up mountains, over waves and down rivers, across moorlands and scree slopes, camping on deserted islands and hoping to catch glimpses of astounding wildlife.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing my love for the world around us; I moved to Scotland to take up a job as a riding trek guide near Edinburgh, and I used to work for Rough Guides, tracking down the best hard-to-find places and most interesting snippets of information to pass on.

Now as a qualified Advanced Sea Kayak Leader, and BC/UKCC Level 3 Sea Coach (one of only a handful in the UK), I can guide you to Scotland’s most spectacular locations, take you off the beaten track, and help you gain the skills to confidently enjoy the outdoors long after you leave.

Mark Mitchell

Owner, guide and instructor

After ten years living life on the road, touring worldwide with music artists and working in TV and event production, I chose to anchor my life in Scotland. This complete change to my work life balance allowed me to discover the world of paddlesports. We now run Sea Kayak Oban, offering coaching and guiding services to anyone willing to come exploring with a smile.


My heart is on the sea and that is where I'd like to  spend most of my time, though the art of the single bladed Canadian canoe is currently fighting for my attention. I love teaching and particularly specialise in melding different rolling techniques from various parts of the world to offer a low impact targeted method to achieving your first roll. This year I have been coaching in the use of the Greenland Stick and paddle almost exclusively with this versatile tool. I hold the BC Sea Kayak Coach (Moderate Water) and Sea Kayak Leader awards.

Erin working at Sea Kayak Oban

Erin Scott

Shop assistant and assistant guide

Erin is a keen kayaker, coasteer, swimmer and mountain biker. She is a student at West Highland College in Fort William, which thankfully leaves her plenty of time to work in the shop at Sea Kayak Oban. Erin holds her Sea Kayak Award and is working towards her Sea Kayak Leader Award.

Lee temporary profile

Lee Wilson

Guide and instructor

Lee is our 2021 seasonal guide and instructor. Originally from Northumberland, he has kayaked around the whole of the UK, being part of the first team to complete an anti-clockwise circumnavigation in 2012. In addition to sea kayaking Lee is a keen canoeist and climber.

Lee holds his BC Sea Kayak Leader and Sea Kayak Coach Awards.