If you are looking for a bit of atmosphere with your paddleboarding session, look no further than Loch Achtriochtan at the base of the pass of Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. We have traveled through Glencoe on many occasions and it never ceases to render us spellbound with it’s dramatic mountains towering over the glen itself. It is a beautiful place at any time of year and has to be one of the worlds most epic drives.
The Main Points – Paddleboarding in The Bay of Small Isles Jura
- Location – Loch Achtriochtan, Glencoe Scotland
- Cost – Free access from car park
- Conditions – Freshwater Loch
- Other users – Walkers
- Entry Point – Rock and Pebble shoreline
- Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- Nearest amenities are in the town of Glencoe 6 km west (3.7 miles)
I have had my eye on this loch for paddleboarding for some time now. The first thing that paddleboarders need to be aware of when paddleboarding on Loch Achrtriochtan is that there is a fairly swift small river which flows from the western edge. This is immeditately obvious on arrival as to access the loch you have to cross the river by bridge. The rate of flow depends on the time of year and the amount of recent rain and paddleboarders should always check local conditions and have a good understanding of their skill level prior to entering the water. For this reason we chose to enter the water at a point distant from the river at a time where there hadn’t been recent rain.
Much of the loch has plant life in it which suggests that it isn’t a very deep loch. Paddleboarders should also be aware of the possibility of becoming entanged in the aquatic plant patches.
Having mentioned some of the potential hazards we can now look at just what a beautiful place Glencoe is. The mountain scenery is some of the most beautiful you will find in Scotland and every time we travel through it I can’t help but imagine hundreds of years ago, being a highlander on his/her trusty Clydesdale picking out a pathway as I descend the glen. I imagine not a lot has changed in that time apart from the road and it’s traffic, the mountains still cast a spell over the observant traveler.
Loch Achtriochtan is in my opinion the best way to get a taste of paddleboarding in this glen. There is the more popular Loch Leven down at sea level by the village of Glencoe but the scenery just isn’t the same. Even though there is quite a bit of traffic passing through the glen there is still a sense of solitude. The loch itself is fairly small so it isn’t the sort of place you will spend a lot of time exploring but I think it is still worth checking out especially if you are an international visitor as the memories will last a lifetime!
Watch our video of paddleboarding on Loch Achtriochtan in Glencoe here
To follow our SUP Safari Scotland journey where we spend 5 months on the road exploring all the best places to paddleboard in Scotland check out our series here
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