Make a splash in 2020 and try some of these water sports in Argyll.

2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, celebrating the country’s remarkable coasts and waters. You’re never far from the water in Argyll. With sheltered sea lochs, idyllic freshwater lochs, Atlantic beaches, myriad islands and thousands of miles of coastline, Argyll is one of Europe’s top watersports destination and there’s a huge range of water-based activities on offer. There's no better time to give them a go! 

Kayaking and canoeing

The waters around Oban and Lorn offer great sea kayaking for all levels and there are tour operators in this area who can help get you started. Another good place for beginners is the sheltered waters of the Kyles of Bute or even paddling down the Crinan Canal. For a real adventure, you can’t beat the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail, a 150km journey along Argyll’s coastline. For a family adventure, canoeing can be a great option. Canoes can carry more people and supplies than kayaks, making them ideal for families to use for paddles around lochs and rivers. Loch Lomond is a top spot to go canoeing, with stunning views and and the loch’s many islands. The sea lochs of Loch Goil and Loch Long are also popular.

Kayak Wild Islay


Surf’s up in Argyll! Argyll’s sandy beaches and Atlantic swells make for some seriously good surfing. There’s something for everyone, from the beginner looking for surfing lessons to hard-core riders seeking pounding breakers. Tiree is perfectly placed to catch the swell from the North Atlantic, giving year-round, consistent waves. The island has a vibrant surfing scene and is home to some excellent surfing schools. The west coast of the Kintyre peninsula is another of Argyll’s surfing spots.

Pete's Surf School Kintyre

Paddle boarding

Paddle boarding, a paddling/surfing hybrid, is fantastic fun. Standing on a board you propel yourself along with a paddle. Enjoy paddling in calm protected lochs and sea lochs or catch waves as they thunder in from the Atlantic. Because you’re standing up, paddle boarding is a great way to spot marine life.

Paddle Boarding Cowal

Wild Swimming

From a dip in a river to a paddle in a loch to a swim across the open ocean, wild swimming is all about immersing yourself in nature and enjoying the great outdoors. The coastline of Argyll is indented with sea lochs providing wonderful sheltered waters for swimming, while the stunning sandy bays of Argyll’s islands are perfect for a dip.

Ostel Bay


With thousands of miles of coastline, sea lochs bursting with wildlife, unspoilt natural reefs and an abundance of easily accessible shipwrecks, Argyll attracts divers from around the world. Argyll has some of the clearest waters in Scotland and there are hundreds of drift, shallow, scenic and shore-dive sites. The area’s well-established dive operators and schools can provide instruction at all levels.

Basking Shark Scotland


Get the wind in your sails! Argyll is a world-class sailing destination, renowned for its scenery, varied coastline, stunning anchorages and shore-side facilities. What’s more, there’s something for all levels. Novices can learn at one of the region’s sailing schools while the more experienced can take to the high seas for the adventure of a lifetime.

Dingy Sailing, Tighnabruaich Sailing School

Coastal rowing

Coastal rowing is a fast-growing sport and there are a number of coastal rowing clubs across Argyll. No special skills are required to row the skiffs and some clubs will give you a taster session to see if you enjoy it! Many of the coastal rowing clubs in Argyll hold coastal rowing regattas throughout the summer.

Coastal rowing Argyll


Coasteering is an adventure activity that involves moving along the inter tidal zone of a rocky sea shore through a combination of walking, climbing, cliff jumping and swimming. The coastline of Argyll and the Isles is the perfect coasteering playground, with coves, caves, cliffs and beaches galore. Explore wild and rugged parts of Argyll as you swim, leap, traverse and scramble where the sea meets the land.

Share your water-based adventures in 2020 using the hashtag #YCW2020.