Canoeing on Loch Ness

Inverness Loch Ness Locals: Canoeing the River Glass & Beauly to the Aigas Gorge

As part of an occasional series written about Inverness Loch Ness by the people who know it best – the residents, workers and veteran visitors - Boots N Paddles Calum Rogerson shares the secrets of some of our wonderful waters!

History, Wildlife and Perfect Paddling!

For those of you unfamiliar with this hidden gem, this is a relatively short stretch of river by Scottish standards, but what it lacks in length it makes up in interest as it flows from the Affric foothills. With rich natural and historical heritage to boast, the river also offers a bit of adventure for those inclined to seek it, a highlight being the wonderful amphitheatre that is the Aigas Gorge.

River Canoeing Near Inverness

For the more adventurous, you can paddle your canoe from the foot of the tumbling Fasnakyle Dam near Cannich, following the river as it meanders through grassy farmland (with a few bumpy bits on the way that you need to watch out for). The River Glass follows the route of the A831 at this point from Drumnadrochit to Beauly, although it never gets that busy, and you’ll easily forget it’s even there.

As you approach the half-way point of this journey, at Struy, this is where River Farrar joins the party and the river grows slightly in stature. However, the river continues on its merry way in a pretty relaxed manner as it approaches the wonderful Aigas Gorge.

Spot Wildlife From the Waters Near Loch Ness

For those with an interest in the history of the area, this is Chisholm country, with the Clan seat at Cromar near the start of the paddle, and their eventual base at Erchless Castle, near Struy. The area also boasts a rich natural heritage with wildlife abound. Resident eagles, ospreys, red kite, otters, mink and pine martens have all made appearances in this area. The Aigas Field Centre isn’t situated here by mistake!

The grand finale awaits as you pass Eilean Aigas (island) and enter the gorge with its towering cliffs and still waters. The silence as you pass through the gorge is just wonderful and to do this trip as the sun rises is just magical. The journey ends at the Aigas Dam, where the river continues for another few kilometres to the sea, but this is where we stop.

Hire Canoe Equipment in the Highlands

So what are you waiting for? It’s got something for everyone from a short paddle in the gorge to a full day paddling from Cannich. If you’ve got the necessary experience you can hire equipment and do this yourself, or hire a guide for an experience to remember for ever.

Boots N Paddles offer equipment hire and guided group canoe trips, including early morning canoe safaris. For more information, go to or call us on 0333 6006008.

Calum Rogerson has worked for Boots N Paddles since 2009, and has been a life-long fan of outdoor adventures. A keen biker, paddler and hiker himself, he loves telling others about the amazing things to do in the Scottish Highlands. Boots N Paddles are a mobile outdoor adventure company offering amazing outdoor experiences across the Highlands, including canoe hire, guided canoe trips and holidays.