The west coast of Scotland is a dream destination for sea kayakers with some of the world's best paddling and now it will be the location of the UK's first long distance 'trail' for sea kayakers.
The route has been devised by Liz and Simon Willis, who live and kayak on Scotland's west coast, and whose preliminary research is based on day-trip experience. This summer they'll paddle the whole route, emphasizing minimum impact camping. Follow their progress from June at ScottishKayakTrail.com
“It's really a virtual trail”, says Simon. “There'll be no sign posts, and we'll not be telling people where to camp. We don't want to concentrate kayakers on a few beaches. We hope this trail will spread the impact of sea kayaking along the entire coast”.
The Scottish Kayak Trail route will run from the Isle of Gigha, off the Kintyre peninsular in the south, to the Summer Isles near Ullapool. “It will be divided into four sections”, Liz Willis explains, “so visitors can either spend a month or more paddling the entire trail, or pick out the best sections for a two week trip”.
A guide-book to the 300 mile Scottish Kayak Trail will published by kayaking specialists Pesda Press.
The heart of the book is accurate pilot information relevant to sea kayakers. The emphasis is on practical advice; the best state of tide to tackle tricky sections; places to visit; the availability of food re-supply in local shops; where kayaks can safely be left unattended; how to shuttle a vehicle around the trail; public transport. A more complex, historical thread is woven through the text as the author uses place names and sights, such as ruined castles, to tell 'Scotland's Story'.
Incorporating advice from Scottish Canoe Association and Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the book emphasises minimum-impact wild camping within the terms of the Scottish Access Code and Land Reform (Scotland) Act.