Sea Kayak Expeditions

For most of human history, the sea was by far the easiest way to travel from one place to another. Water provided a link between communities we would now think of as remote, many of which have since disappeared. Following these ancient routes, sea kayaking offers unparalleled access to wild and beautiful locations, often only reachable by boat. The West Coast is rich in deserted islands, sandy beaches, and superb views, making it one of the best places in the world for expeditions, especially as Scotland’s liberal access laws allow responsible paddlers to land almost anywhere, pitch a tent and camp out.
 
Although some previous experience is required for all our expeditions, we try to cater to as many paddlers as possible. Expedition grades take into account distance and conditions, but also exposure: Explorer Expeditions will generally stay relatively close to shore, while Intermediate and Advanced might head out on open crossings between islands. We keep expedition group sizes small to minimise the environmental impact, maximise opportunities for wildlife sightings, and encourage paddlers to work together as a team.
 
The West Coast weather is hugely variable, and we have some strong tides to contend with, so we don’t decide on destinations until a few days before departure. This flexibility allows us to choose the best venue for the conditions we have, and means the expedition team can be involved in the decision. We can also organise custom expeditions for groups (maximum 6 people).
 
If you’re not sure which expedition is right for you, email us Laura on adventures@seakayakoban.com to discuss, or give us a call on 01631 565 310 to discuss.
Tent and sea kayak with paddler overlooking islands

Explorer Expedition - 2 day

Trip length: 2 days / 1 night

Cost: £220

Level: Improver

For paddlers who have spent around 3-5 days on the water, and are capable of paddling 10-15km per day.  This would be suitable as someone’s first kayak expedition, even if you have no camping experience. Possible destinations include Lismore, Luing, Kerrera, Seil, Loch Etive.

You don’t have to paddle far from Oban to find yourself in some superb scenery, and these trips aim to get you there at a relaxed pace. 

You will meet at 09.30 on the first day, and we will set you up with kayak, paddle, buoyancy aid and any paddling clothing you might require. The itinerary will depend on the weather, so you might launch from the beach right outside our base in central Oban, or there might be a short drive to an alternative launch spot. 

In pretty much any weather forecast, we will be able to make the trip a circular route rather than there and back, so each day will offer new scenery, as well as opportunities for spotting wildlife such as seals, otters, porpoises and sea eagles. Overnight you will be wild camping, and there will be time to explore the area around your campsite on foot after the day’s paddle if you wish. The expedition will finish back at our base around 16.30 on day 2.

Trip price includes paddling equipment and clothing. Camping equipment is available at no extra charge, but must be booked in advance. We do not provide sleeping bags, and you will need to bring your own food, though we are happy to advise on what that should be.

2021 Dates : 3/4 April, 5/6 June, 17/18 July, 18/19 September

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Explorer Expedition - 3 day

Trip length: 3 days / 2 nights

Cost: £330

Level: Improver

For paddlers who have spent around 5-10 days on the water, and are capable of paddling 15-20km per day for 3 consecutive days. This would be suitable as someone’s first kayak expedition, though we would recommend you have some previous camping experience. Possible destinations include Lismore, the Inner Hebrides, Mull, Gigha.

A 3-day trip opens up a wonderful range of destinations, including several options for full circumnavigations – Lismore, Gigha, and some of the Inner Hebridean islands such as Luing, Scarba and Lunga are all accessible in that time.

You will meet at 09.30 on the first day, and we will set you up with kayak, paddle, buoyancy aid and any paddling clothing you might require. The itinerary will depend on the weather, so you might launch from the beach right outside our base in central Oban, or there might be a short drive to an alternative launch spot. 

In pretty much any weather forecast, we will be able to make the trip a circular route rather than there and back, so each day will offer new scenery, as well as opportunities for spotting wildlife such as seals, otters, porpoises and sea eagles. Overnight you will be wild camping, and there will be time to explore the area around your campsite on foot after the day’s paddle if you wish. Depending on weather and group preference, you might move camp each night, or you might stay put and head out on a day trip on day 2. The expedition will finish back at our base around 16.30 on day 3.

Course price includes paddling equipment and clothing. Camping equipment is available as part of the course price but must be booked in advance. We do not provide sleeping bags, and you will need to bring your own food.

2021 Dates: 8-10 May, 4-6 June, 9-11 June, 16-18 June, 28-30 August

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Intermediate Expedition

Trip length: 3 days or 5 days

Cost: £330 / £550

Level: Intermediate

For paddlers with a couple of seasons’ paddling under their belt, who are capable of paddling at least 20km a day each day of the trip, in winds of up to F3 and swell up to 1m. Wild camping experience is essential, though this does not have to be from a kayak. Possible destinations include the Inner Hebrides, Mull, Jura, the Garvellachs.

The West Coast of Scotland is one of the world’s top sea kayaking destinations, and for good reason. Over three or five days you will have plenty of time to reach some truly remote areas. Scotland’s relaxed laws on wild camping mean you can pitch your tent on spectacular isolated beaches, or perhaps even your own desert island. Careful use of tides can speed you on your way, saving your strength for island crossings or more exposed coastlines. We would of course hope to meet seals, otters, porpoises, sea eagles and perhaps even basking sharks on the way.

Course price includes paddling equipment and clothing. Camping equipment is available as part of the price but must be booked in advance. We do not provide sleeping bags, and you will need to bring your own food. If weather allows, we may take the ferry to or from Mull, in which case there will be a small additional charge for the foot passenger ferry ticket – this will be discussed in advance.

2021 Dates :

3 day: 29-31 May, 24-26 September

5 day: 4-8 August

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Advanced Expedition

Trip length: 5 days / 4 nights

Cost: £550

Level: Experienced

For paddlers capable of paddling 25-30km a day for 5 consecutive days, in winds of F4 or more with associated sea state, through strong tidal streams and on open crossings. Experience of paddling a loaded boat is essential. Possible destinations include the Garvellachs, Mull, west coast of Jura.

For strong paddlers with a sense of adventure, the possibilities are endless. Working with the weather and tides, we will set out to make the most of the available conditions. A 5-day trip allows access to some truly remote locations, such as the roadless west coast of Jura, or the Ross of Mull, Treshnish Islands and Staffa. We can paddle through some classic tidal gateways, including the Grey Dogs and the notorious Corryvreckan, stopping to play if we wish. Taking advantage of Scotland’s liberal wild camping laws, we will be pitching our tents on deserted beaches and uninhabited islands.

Course price includes paddling equipment and clothing. Camping equipment is available as part of the price but must be booked in advance. We do not provide sleeping bags, and you will need to bring your own food. If weather allows, we may take the ferry to or from one of the islands, in which case there will be a small additional charge for the foot passenger ferry ticket – this will be discussed in advance.

2021 Dates: 9-13 June, 6-10 September

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