50 Islands to Kayak in Argyll & the Isles

Are you ready for an exciting paddling challenge this summer?

Why not start to experience the 50 islands here in Argyll & the Isles, ready to welcome you and your kayak or canoe!

Argyll & the Isles has many islands around the coastline and on our freshwater lochs, from large world famous Hebridean islands to much smaller now uninhabited islands.

Working with local experienced paddlers, Geoff and Vonna, we have curated a list of 50 islands across Argyll & the Isles which are each very different and are great for kayakers to explore the spectacular and extensive coastlines and offering a different perspective on Scotland’s Adventure Coast.

What do we mean by an Island paddle?

What is the definition of “paddling an island”? Our islands vary immensely in size and circumference and also distance from the shore as your starting point. We're conscious that, due to safety and time constraints, a paddling trip to say Coll or Colonsay from the mainland isn’t realistic for anyone other than a very small minority of very experienced paddlers and we want the challenge to be achievable for any keen and capable paddler. As an example it was felt that the use of a ferry to get to Colonsay and then circumnavigating the island should constitute “paddling it”.

Similarly, it was felt that simply paddling across to an island should not constitute “paddling it” – the focus should be on circumnavigating and exploring the extensive and intricate coastline. However, a requirement to circumnavigate every island, although possible, again could push the challenge out of the reach of the keen paddler especially when Mull, Islay and Jura are included. It was felt that a requirement to have paddled at least 75% of the coastline of a larger island would set a real, but not impossible, challenge that could be undertaken in a number of stages.


Some inspiration to help you tick off the top 50!

There's no rules at all. Set this as a personal challenge to yourself, or with friends and family. It's easy to take part and most of all gives you the perfect excuse to come back and try something new and different islands each time!

  • You can kayak or canoe to or around (even partially) the islands, in ANY order, and in your own time.
  • There's no time limit at all. Do as many as you like this summer, or take a few years, it's entirely up to you!
  • Each paddle is not a race. In fact, we encourage you to take your time and soak up the stunning scenery.
  • You must participate safely at all times by following water safety guidance and letting someone know where you are and expected return time.
  • You can include islands you've paddled previously too, to contribute to your to 50!

Some key tips

The 50 Islands around Argyll & the Isles vary in size and distance from the mainland - or from larger nearby islands. Some are easy paddles to get to and some more suitable for more experienced paddlers, so please do your homework so you know what to expect before you set off. And as all keen paddlers know, be aware of the local weather forecast and tide times for when you will be paddling, which will change daily and with the seasons. Understand your own level of competence for the conditions you will encounter to each island and ensure everyone paddling with you does likewise. Paddling with an inexperienced paddler will restrict everyone in the group and it is important everyone is fully aware of each others experience and capabilities.

50 Islands Kayak Challenge DIRECTORY

Here is a list of our 50 islands by name, and grouped by destination. What will be your first 10 to kayak?

Inchmarnock Island
Isle of Bute

Coll and Tiree
Gunna Island
Isle of Coll
Isle of Tiree

Inveraray Knapdale Kilmartin and Crinan
Garbh Eileach, Garvellachs
Eileach an Naoimh, Garvellachs
Eilean da Mheinn
Eilean Macaskin Island, Craignish
Eilean Righ Island
Island of Danna

Islay, Jura and Colonsay
Texa Island
Isle of Jura
Isle of Islay

Kintyre and Gigha
Cara Island
Gigalum Island
Sanda Island, Mull of Kintyre
Isle of Gigha

Loch Lomond and Clyde Sea Lochs
Inchconnachan Island
Inchtavannach Island
Mull and Iona
Lunga, Treshnish
Calve Island
Eorsa Island
Erraid Island
Gometra Island
Little Colonsay Island
Isle of Inch Kenneth
Isle of Iona
Isle of Staffa

Oban and Lorn
Innis Chonain Island
Eilean Dubh Mor - The Slate Islands
Shuna (Luing) Island - The Slate Islands
Shuna, Loch Linnhe
Innish Chonnell Island
Castle Stalker
Torsa Island
Easdale Island
Luing Island
Belnahua - The Slate Islands
Kerrera Island
Scarba Island
Lunga - The Slate Islands
Isle of Seil