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Discovering the Magic of Paddleboarding: A Weekend Adventure in Glencoe, Scotland

Updated: Jun 14

Words by Sara Campbell


Scotland, with its breathtaking landscapes and serene waters, is the perfect destination for a paddleboarding adventure. As a relative newbie, I had my reservations, my first SUP was in the warmer climate of an Arizona mountain lake.But the promise of exploring Scotland’s natural beauty from a unique perspective was too enticing to resist. Here's a glimpse into my unforgettable weekend paddleboarding trip with Glasgow Paddleboarders Co.

 

Day 1: Arrival and First Paddle

I was immediately struck by the commanding scenery on the drive to our destination through Glencoe, hugging the route of the West Highland Way and descending down into Ballachulish. Our resting point was just beyond at Roam West, Inchree.  The crystal-clear waters of the lochs, surrounded by lush green hills, provided a stunning backdrop for my Scottish paddleboarding initiation.

 

We found our self-catering accommodation clean, warm, and inviting and enjoyed a hearty early evening meal in the restaurant. Introductions to the club members were friendly and natural, as if I had been part of their community from the start.

 

The clouds had been gathering in a menacing, dark and brooding manner. Rain had accompanied us on our journey to Glencoe, we secretly hoped it would not last and ruin our evening paddle plans. (Momentarily forgetting that rain is never far off in any Scottish outdoor activity, even if its June! ) With an unrivalled determination, the group assembled at the Ballachulish harbour, launching just as the heavens opened and the wind picked up. Perfect conditions for some serious down winding fun! Eventually, the rain clouds cleared enough before the sun set behind the mountains as we approached Kinlochleven.

 

Day 2: 16k Challenge

Picnic and equipment bags packed we set off sailing over on the Corran Ferry for the days adventure. After a quick briefing on safety and techniques for downwinding from our friendly instructors, it was time to hit the water.

The wind was strong, and the waves were challenging, this was a serious initiation into down winding for a newbie like me, pushing my body and balance to the limits.

Navigating the waters, we encountered curious seals and a variety of birdlife, adding to the sense of wonder. The physical effort required to paddle the gentle currents was surprisingly invigorating, and by the end of the day, I felt a profound sense of accomplishment.

 


Day 3: A Bittersweet Farewell

 

Sunday was a sunny day! We wasted no time packing up and getting out to our final paddle destination, Loch Etive, which had been on many of our wish lists of places to SUP. It did not disappoint. It was a truly beautiful day and the perfect place to finish our weekend adventures.

 

Only a whisper of wind and water sparkling in the sunlight. The gentle swaying of the board, the rhythmic splash of the paddle, and the pristine beauty all around created a sense of peace and connection with nature that I had never felt before.

 

As I paddled back to shore for the last time, I reflected on the weekend. Paddleboarding in Scotland had been a journey of discovery—not just of the stunning landscapes, but also of my own capabilities and connection to nature. The camaraderie with fellow paddleboarders and the warm hospitality of the locals added to the richness of the experience.

 

Final Thoughts

 

For anyone considering a paddleboarding adventure, Scotland is a dream destination. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner like me, the diverse waterways and stunning scenery offer something for everyone. Around the lochs to the rugged coastline, paddleboarding in Scotland is an experience that will leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the great outdoors


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