Why you need to try Sea Kayaking
With miles of glorious coastline, myriad islands and wonderful wildlife, Oban and Lorn is one of the best places in Scotland for sea kayaking. It’s also home to a number of operators offering sea kayaking instruction and guiding for all levels, as well as kit hire. Explore sea caves, get up close and personal with some amazing sea creatures and learn some new skills. Here’s why you should try sea kayaking in Oban and Lorn.
There’s something for all levels of paddler in and around Oban, from sheltered sea lochs to the overfalls and tide races of the Falls of Lora and the Gulf of CorryVreckan. If you’re a beginner, Oban is the perfect place to start. You’ll find plenty of excellent, highly qualified companies keen to give you a safe, enjoyable and fun introduction to the sport. If you want to learn as a family, kids from as young as ten can give it a go in special kids’ kayaks or in doubles with a parent. Adults meanwhile can choose from introductory courses to longer trips, sometimes based in hotels or camping out.
Improvers can build their skills with courses in rolling, tide racing and more. For the more experienced sea kayaker, there’s loads to challenge you. Go on a kayaking trip to the islands and discover your own perfect wild camping site. If you fancy a sea kayaking adventure, you can’t beat the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail. It starts at Ganavan Sands in Oban and runs for 150km to Helensburgh with launch spots, parking and lots of 'paddle friendly' tourism businesses along the way. Or how about kayaking on the famous Corryvreckan Whirlpool? From bespoke tours to multi-day expeditions, you’ll find all the local companies cater for experienced sea kayakers. If you’re travelling from overseas, they’ll be able to kit you out and will be happy to share their local knowledge.
One of the most exciting things about sea kayaking in Oban and Lorn is the chance to paddle to some beautiful islands. Kerrera and Lismore are both close to Oban, while further south the Slate Islands of Seil, Easdale and Luing, Scarba, Shuna and the Garvellachs offer wonderful paddling opportunities. They are all different in geology and geography, with towering cliffs, enormous sea caves, vertical volcanic intrusions and empty sandy beaches. Kayaking under the humpback Clachan Bridge, also known as the 'Bridge over the Atlantic', is great fun. It links the Isle of Seil to the mainland.
Oban is also a good base for sea kayakers who want to visit the islands of the Inner Hebrides of Mull, Iona, Islay, Coll and Tiree. Calmac operates ferry services to these wonderful islands from Oban. You can use a trolley to walk your sea kayak on to the ferry where it’s transported for free.
Sea kayaking is a great way to meet the local wildlife. The waters around Oban and Lorn are rich feeding grounds and dolphins, porpoises, minke whales, seals, basking sharks and even the occasional orca can be seen. The Firth of Lorn Special Area of Conservation, just south of Oban, supports a huge variety of marine species, while the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, where turbulent tides and currents create an exceptional feeding area for wildlife, is a top place to spot porpoises, dolphins and whales. When you’re paddling around the coast, keep your eyes peeled for otters. And don’t forget to look up – you might just spot a white-tailed eagle!
It’s not just sea kayaking on offer in Oban and Lorn. The River Awe is right on Oban’s doorstep and provides fantastic white-water kayaking. The river is dam-controlled, and releases water at a great beginner/intermediate level all summer long. Oban’s National Kayak School offers adventurous taster sessions and full introductory and intermediate white-water kayaking courses on the River Awe.
Sea Kayak Oban and Sea Freedom Kayak are all based in or near Oban. Sea Kayak Oban is one of Scotland’s biggest sea kayaking shops.