The thought of paddle boarding on Loch Ness was a daunting one. Talk of cold water shock even in the middle of summer was something not to be taken lightly. Especially after my initial introduction to the Loch many years prior. Even though some of what back packer bus tour operators tell you is said in jest – such as the huge pipes coming down into Fort William containing porridge, some things are best heeded. I felt that this was one of them!
The Main Points
- Location – Dores, Loch Ness, Scotland
- Cost – Free access from Dores Beach
- Conditions – Peaty Freshwater Loch
- Other users – Other paddlers, beach goers, boats
- Entry Point – Pebbly/sandy beach
- Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- Village of Dores, we parked in the public car park (link here) and carried our boards to the beach as the car park at the beach was sign posted as being for the patrons of the Dores Inn
What’s it really like paddle boarding on Loch Ness?
Firstly I have to say that we were incredibly lucky to find one of the most pleasant days on our trip for our visit. However this is not always the case. In the recent September 2022 Great Glen Challenge some areas of the Loch were experiencing 35km/hr winds and 6 foot swell. Conditions can and do change quickly so people using the loch should be aware of this.
Having said that where we paddled was relatively shallow for the most part and there were people in swimming. Dores beach was fairly sheltered on the day and a nice place to spend the day.
Even thought Loch Ness is quite a large Loch there are very few places to safely access the water without going through private land. Although there is the right to roam in Scotland, access through private land in the Loch Ness area is not always possible or practical. In my opinion I would have to say that Dores Beach is the best location for paddle boarding on Loch Ness. Alternatively there are a couple of places down the eastern shore. These are mostly parking right on the road side in places less sheltered where the water gets deep quickly.
Watch our video of Paddle Boarding on Loch Ness here
But make sure you watch out for…
To keep in touch please sign up to our weekly updates where we share our hints and tips along with some of the most epic places we have paddleboarded.
If you haven’t yet watched part one of our SUP Safari Scotland Travel Video Series check it out here.