Kayaking, Canoeing & Rafting

White Water Rafting In Scotland | The Best Rivers For Adventure in Caledonia

A guide to rafting on the river Tay, the Garry, the Orchy and the Cairngorms National Park

White water rafting in Scotland is full of thrills and the occasional spill. If you’re looking for powerful rivers and beautiful scenery then you’ve come to the right place.

Scotland is packed with mountains, and many of the rivers are fed by meltwater as snow melts on nearby peaks in spring and runs down into the Scottish water ways, raising water levels and increasing the intensity of already awesome rapids. The other thing Scotland is blessed with is plenty of rain which also helps to ramp up those rivers and melts the snow even faster. Coupled with dam releases this means that Scotland can offer pretty much a year round white water, making it one of the most dependable places to go white water rafting in the UK.

Linn of Tummel, River Tummel – Photo:

With massive unspoiled areas of countryside like the Cairngorms National Park and the Scottish Highlands, white water rafting in Scotland is also a feast for the eyes, with tall stands of pine, dramatic mountains and lush rolling hills surrounding you as you travel.

So what are you waiting for? Grab an oar and get stuck in to some top notch white water rafting in Scotland!

White Water Rafting On The River Tay

Fed by the epic Scottish Highlands, the River Tay is Scotland’s longest river travelling from Ben Lui in the Southern Highlands to the Firth of Tay on Scotland’s east coast. At 117 miles the Tay offers a massive variety of water from flat, calmer sections to rapids like the Washing Machine and Zoom Flume.

One of the most popular white water rafting spots on the Tay is the Grandtully Rapids. There’s a permanent set of slalom gates set up here for all kayaking fans, but the main draw is the class 3 white water. Consisting of the Top Falls, Middle Rapids, Fourth Falls and the ominously named Boat Breaker this is the show piece of a river Tay rafting trip which will fire you up for white water rafting in Scotland.

White Water Rafting In The Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park plays host to some of the top white water rafting in Scotland. There are two main rivers you want to check out here, both with their own distinct character.

Fed by releases from the Clunie Dam the River Tummel season usually runs from June through to September. This is a technical river featuring grade 4-5 rapids like the Shark‘s Tooth and Roller Coaster and finishing big with the heart stopping Linn of Tummel, an 18ft two tier waterfall that’s bound to get the adrenaline flowing!

Running from grade 2-5 depending on where you jump in, the River Findhorn offers big scenic thrills alongside white water spills. Wide curves, tree lined gorges and broad valleyscapes will all vie for your attention as you navigate crashing rapids like the Wall Of Death and Carnage Corner. Findhorn doesn’t have dam feeding but is still pretty consistent, running for most of the year. The best conditions are still in the spring and autumn when the water levels are highest and you can tackle the challenging Lower Gorge area as nature intended, giving you a true taste of white water rafting in Scotland.

White Water Rafting On The River Garry

located almost in the centre of Scotland, on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, The River Garry is a major tributary of the River Tummel, helping to create the white water which feeds the Lynn of Tummel and in turn the rapids in the river Tay. The Garry rapids are a little gentler than its sister rivers downstream but thanks to dam feeding from Loch Garry, the white water here is fairly dependable.

With dam releases running from April through to October you can be sure of playful grade 3-4 white water on the Garry. You’ll get big, bouncy waves, and plenty of surfing here, with enough drops to keep you on your toes. Rapids like Double Or Quits and The Tunnel Of Love will test your rafting nerve without pushing it to the limit making this a cracking introduction to white water rafting in Scotland.

White Water Rafting On The River Orchy

If you’re looking for some of the toughest white water rafting in Scotland then the River Orchy is spot to head for. Lying deep in the Grampian Mountains the Orchy is only a trickle for most of the summer but come winter and some decent Scottish rainfall, the Orchy becomes a grade 5 monster.

You’re going to need some previous white water experience to even think about riding this river, but if you’re ready you can take on the iconic Easan Dubha and the 6 meter high Falls Of Orchy. This is white water rafting in Scotland at its best.

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