Stand Up Paddleboarding on Loch Shiel

The Main Points – Paddleboarding on Loch Shiel

  • Location – Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan Scotland
  • Cost – Access from paid car park
  • Conditions – Freshwater Loch
  • Other users – Walkers, visitors to the Glenfinnan Monument
  • Entry Point – Paddle down the river to the loch, pebbly/rocky shore
  • Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- Bathroom in the visitor centre, Fort William 27 km east (16.7 miles)
Paddlboarding down the River Finnan to Loch Shiel


(a new carpark was constructed in 2021)


A wee blether – paddleboarding on Loch Shiel

This was another one of those places where I had spent a lot of time trying to work out an access point from satellite images. Luckily for us there is a new carpark that was made beside the Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Centre carpark which was right on the River Finnan.

The car park is a paid one but you get a warm and fuzzy feeling because it was constructed and is owned by the community. Satellite imagery hasn’t quite caught up with the construction so as of 2021 you can’t see it on web based maps yet.

The Glenfinnan Monument from paddleboard

From our perspective this was a great solution as walking with the boards over a really busy road and out to the monument and the waters edge is a little bit of a mission. Also if you choose to access Loch Shiel from the monument there is a admission fee payable at the visitor centre (free if you are a memeber of Scotlands National Trust.)

The river isn’t very deep in some areas and there was one spot that we had to portage over but if you sit or kneel down on your board you should be right if you bump into anything. Check out our video to see the conditions and accessability.

Paddling down the river was one of the highlights of the session as it was really pretty with tree branches meeting overhead.

Also worth checking out is the wetland area to the east of the loch wehere the Callop River enters Loch Shiel especially if the wind is howling up the loch. There are a few islands to take the brunt of the breeze in this area also.

After your paddle you can take a walk along the Callop river along a boardwalk which is well signposted for beautiful glimpses of Loch Shiel. Alternatively you can take the path up to the Glenfinnan Viaduct to watch for the Jacobite Express (Hogwarts Express) steam train as it makes it’s way over the iconic bridge. There is also a really great spot to take photos from on another hill up behind the visitor centre.

Watch our video of Paddleboaring on Loch Shiel here

This paddleboarding session was part of our SUP Safari Scoltand Series where we spend 5 months travelling Sotland in our Campervan Harmony the Happy Camper exploring all of the best places to Stand Up Paddleboard in Scotland. If you would like to watch this 23 part series you can check out Epsiode 1 below. While we are still very much learning about the video filming and editing process (they do get better over time!) it is the most comprehensive video guide to stand up paddleboarding in Scotland ever made. We’d love it if you would subscribe to our channel, and share with your paddleboaring mates to help us grow the paddleboarding community!

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4 thoughts on “Stand Up Paddleboarding on Loch Shiel

      • WorldWideWalkies says:

        It’s that time of year, isn’t it? I used to windsurf right through to February (on the South Coast of England) but those days are gone. I remember getting changed out of my wetsuit in a windswept car park on a grey December day and thinking, “Is this fun?!” :-)

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