Scottish Activity Centres for Watersports

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” 

It is Ratty from the “The Wind in the Willows” who sets the tone of our next blog. For is there anything better than a day out on the open water? And could Scotland, with its mix of beautiful lochs, crashing waves and exciting rapids, be more perfect to indulge? With over 10,000 km of spectacular coastline and more lochs, lochans and rivers to shake a paddle at, Scotland serves up kayak, canoe or surfboard with a side of Atlantic swells and some grade 5 river rapids for dessert.

Activity Centres Scotland - Lochaber

Sea Kayaking by Rupert Kirkwood

Whatever your pallet on the watersports front, from canyoning in Glencoe, to west coast sea kayaking, to riding the waves at Scotlands surfing capital Thurso, there is something to suit every taste and ability. All over Scotland, numerous outdoor activity centres and companies offer a wide range of watersports activities, from beginner introductions to the more challenging adventures for the more experienced. A day of adventure on the water, whether it’s a banana ride on Loch Lomond or a canoe trip down the River Spey leaves the cobwebs blown away on a fresh spray breeze! And with so much choice it’s easy to find the perfect adventure for family holidays, stag and hen weekends and everything and everyone in between. So, get ready to make a splash and read on to explore a few water-sporting delights!


Central Belt

For a river adventure in Scotland’s central belt, try Outdoor Pursuits Scotland, the outdoor activity specialists located in the heart of Glasgow. Passionate about Scotland and its amazing outdoor adventures on offer, all the activities are run by highly trained and professional, experienced instructors who just love to be in the outdoors sharing their passion with others. Pick and choose your day of adventure with the bespoke activity packages, perfect for groups of friends, and get out and make the most of Scotland’s natural playground! Try canyoning and gorge walking which mostly involves swimming, sliding, scrambling and jumping from pool to pool discovering locations such as the Devils Pulpit in Finnich Glen. There is also paddlesports, funyaking, white water rafting and river boogie boarding – exhilarating fun for everyone!

Activity Centres Scotland - Loch Lomond

Holiday home nearby: Claddochside | Loch Lomond | Sleeps 8 | Pet friendly


West coast – Glencoe

If you are holidaying on the beautiful west coast, then check out Vertical Descents, who offer a wide selection of outdoor activities that appeal to everyone at all levels. The instructors are highly skilled, qualified and experienced and instill trust to provide a fantastic adventure experience! Experience white water rafting in some of Scotland’s most spectacular and exciting rivers – it is truly unforgettable. Big bouncy family friendly rafting trips, through to adrenaline fueled, extreme rafting experiences so there is something to suit everyone. Canyoning, gorge walking, coasteering, white water funyaking, white water river bugging (purpose built, one-man white water crafts – unique to Vertical Descents) and river tubing are also available. They have activities for all groups and packages for every budget, so visit the website and pick the perfect package for you!

Activity Centres Scotland - Glencoe

Holiday home nearby: Lochside House | by Glencoe | Sleeps 6


East coast – Stonehaven

Booked a holiday in Aberdeenshire and fancy exploring the coast? Then do it with Stonehaven Paddle Boarding, and see the coastline from a whole new perspective visiting places you can only get to on a paddleboard! Based in the stunning (and safe!) harbour area of Stonehaven, you can make use of the bay and the breath-taking coastline to explore and perfect your technique on the board. From first time learner lessons to tours that explore the many coves, caves, waterfalls and views of the breath-taking Dunnotar Castle, there are lots of options to suit the beginner to the expert. All the equipment is provided for a safe and adventurous time, just bring enthusiasm and get ready for some wildlife close ups too, from seals and seabirds and maybe some dolphins. The spectacular cliffs of Fowlsheugh are packed with more than 130,000 breeding seabirds including puffins, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes, along with some puffins and fulmars!

Activity Centres Scotland - St Cyrus Beach

Holiday home nearby: The Ice House | St Cyrus | Sleeps 8 | Pet friendly


North West

For the north west coast of Scotland, why not explore the dramatic coastline from the sea? Try a paddle with local company NorWest Sea Kayaking, with a seafront hut base in Ullapool from where the trips and hire is run. A base in Achiltibuie – The Summer Isles and Lochinver provides exploration of the amazing Summer Isles and Assynt coastline. Whether it’s an expedition, a development course, a luxury lodge tour, or a day adventure, they can make it happen! NorWest Sea Kayaking runs introduction and intermediate courses, camping expeditions and day or 1/2 day trips. Explore the wild and untouched landscape, with dramatic peaks rising from the glistening waters and pockets of golden sand beaches, tucked away for you to discover by sea. The highly experienced instructor is dedicated to offering courses to challenge intermediate-level kayakers and also ignite a passion for the sport in newbies, so make a day of it!

Activity Centres Scotland - North Coast

Holiday home nearby: Reiff Beach Cottage | near Achiltibuie | Sleeps 8


North Coast

For the most northerly surf lessons in Scotland, head to North Coast Watersports. Providing unforgettable cold water surfing experiences amongst the best waves in the UK, you will see this breathtaking coast from a new perspective. With lessons from beginners to seasoned surfers, North Coast Watersports believe anyone of any age can grab a board and enjoy the beautiful waters. Located at Dunnet beach, a long sandy bay that picks up all the north sea swells, it is the perfect place to learn or improve with the long peeling waves this beach can offer. It is also the perfect place for a picnic! This beach is situated just around the corner from Thurso, which is a town known for world class waves. From beginner group lessons or private lessons to surf trips there is a package to suit everyone.

Activity Centres Scotland - Thurso

Holiday home nearby: Quarryside Farmhouse | Castletown near Thurso | Sleeps 6 | Pet friendly


Aviemore – Loch Insh Watersports

Set within 14 acres of stunning native woodlands situated on the shores of Loch Insh in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Insh Outdoor Centre offers every sort of outdoor activity that even the most active and adventurous person could wish for! There is something for every type of group, traveller and adventure seeker from water sports and dry land activities in summer to skiing in winter. You could try your hand at one of the many “afloat” activities such as paddle boarding and windsurfing if you have good balance, and for the less steady on their sea legs a spot of sailing, kayaking, open canoeing perhaps. If the sun is shining, how about a morning drift down the beautiful River Spey on a river trip? Or for a slower more relaxed pace perhaps turn your hand to a bit of fishing. There is also the opportunity to partake in some raft building if you aren’t concerned about perhaps having a refreshing dip!

Activity Centres Scotland - Aviemore

Holiday home nearby: Lynwilg House | Aviemore | Sleeps 11 | Pet friendly


So there you have it, a selection of great activity centres all aiming to help you make the most of your holiday. The self-catering holiday homes featured are ones we have located nearby each one, and all of these are great properties suited to accommodate families or groups of friends. Going self-catering for an adventure type holiday is a good idea as there are no time curfews when it comes to food and entry, you have the freedom to come and go as you please, and you also the privacy that you just don’t get from hotel accommodation. Check them out by clicking on their photos. For our full list of waterside holiday homes visit our website today.

Activity Centres Scotland - Harris

Luskentyre Sands, Harris, Scotland. By Daniel Wilcox

If you have any questions just give us a call on 01738 451 610

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