Slate Isles Sea Kayaking

This area must be one of the most diverse in terms of sea kayaking conditions and landscapes that can be found in Scotland. From the exposed and rugged cliffs off the west coast of Scarba, to the low lying and sheltered areas to the west of Seil Sound in the north. This trip is a must for any sea kayaker wishing to find a blend of seclusion, varied sea conditions, wildlife and some very interesting tidal features.

The Gulf of Corryvreckan and its famous whirlpool ‘The Hag’ lies between Jura and Scarba, while another, ‘The Gulf of Grey Dogs’, lies between Scarba and Luing. These tidal races offer a particular challenge in terms of planning if we wish to pass through and there is a camp close at hand to spend time simply marvelling at it from land should we choose to stop.

A few miles further offshore a small chain of islands known as ‘The Garvellachs’ continually beckon, and always become the ultimate fair weather goal for us to reach and

spend a night. It is here that St Columba’s mother is reputed to be buried, marked by a simple stone and Christian cross on a small hill just above the ruins of an old monastery.

As we paddle along we can expect to find ourselves amongst inquisitive seals and perhaps a porpoise or two. In recent years we have been lucky to see peregrine falcons, buzzards, guillemots and a large variety of other sea birds.

In addition to this there are deer to be found wandering freely across some of the islands. Occasionally they stumble into the camp at night but are quick to take fright at any hint of movement.

Our goal is to develop your skills and knowledge from your present level of ability and ensure maximum enjoyment! Whatever your goals may be, these skills and safety topics can be covered in Ocean Discovery’s sea kayak training courses:

  • Efficient forward paddling techniques
  • Basic stroke work
  • Modified turning techniques
  • Coping with paddling into, acorss and in the same direction as waves
  • Surfing in waves
  • Packing a sea kayak
  • Deep water rescues
  • Towing systems
  • Rolling techniques
  • Surf launching & landing
  • Group awareness & leadership
  • Flares and VHF radio

There will also be the chance to delve into theoretical topics including: tides, weather, expedition planning and knowledge and design of equipment.

7 days

We start our trip from our base at Craobh Haven, to the south of Oban, meeting up at the Lord of the Isles pub next to the marina. From here we will spend five nights out amongst the islands of Jura, Scarba, Luing, Seil, Lunga and hopefully the Garvellachs, before returning to Craobh Haven. We then head for home.

Price to be confirmed.

Your expedition leader is a fully qualified BCU aspirant Level 5 coach with experience leading groups in Chile, Alaska, Scotland and Wales. He has paddled extensively in this area and coached and led groups at the National Watersports Centre for Wales for several years.

These items of equipment will be available to you:

  • Romany sea kayak
  • Paddle
  • Spray deck
  • Buoyancy aid
  • Waterproof salopettes
  • Cagoule
  • Safety equipment as required
  • Camping stove if required

Please inform us if you do not need any of the above.

Food will be provided by Ocean Discovery and will be in the form of ration packs.

Exploring the Slate Isles

  • Rugged coastlines
  • Wild camping
  • Seals and otters
  • Bird life
  • Many islands to explore
  • Strong tidal effects in places
  • Steeped in history

Minimum experience:  You should be at level equivalent to the BCU 2 star award with some previous experience in a sea kayak. If you have no recognised awards then, as a rough guide, you should feel confident and comfortable in a sea kayak with a force 3 wind strength on the sea. If you are in any doubt as to your capabilities please do not hesitate to call us and we will do our best to help you decide. We also run sea kayak skills and familiarisation training for those wishing to experience sea kayaks for the first time.