A guide to our most Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you based?

We are based in Kilmore, Sleat in the south of the Isle of Skye. Most our sessions start and finish at our base, where you will be equipped with everything you need. We will then travel to our kayaking location. Skye is one of the Inner Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland.

How do I book?

You can now book most of our experiences online.. We will confirm your booking within 24 hours and the joining instructions. Full payment is due at the point of booking to minimise admin costs. We have a generous cancellation policy though that takes Covid into account, should your plans change. All persons are the same price, no matter what age or single or double kayaks used.

What equipment do you supply and what do I need to bring?

We supply kayaks, buoyancy aids, spray decks, wetsuit, cagouls and shoes. We send out a list of what you need to bring when you book, these include fleece jumpers, lunch, socks and spare clothes amongst other things.

Where do you kayak from?

The location we choose depends mostly on the weather but also on the ability of the group and their preferences. You can suggest places you’d like to go to, but ultimately the weather will dictate whether we can paddle in that location. Luckily the Isle of Skye has many stunning places and beautiful coastlines, so wherever we take you, there will be something for you: stunning scenery, wildlife, interesting rocks or all of those. We mostly paddle out of Armadale, Ord, Isle Ornsay, Broadford, Elgol, Kylerea, Kyleakin and Plockton. For private sessions we can also go to other places further afield, but extra charges may apply for travel. Some journeys are round trips, others may be one way along the coast.

What if the weather is bad?

The weather is usually not predictable at the time of booking, but generally most sessions take place. Kayaking is a water sport, so we are dressed to get wet, although we don’t often get very wet. This also means that we are protected from the rain.  The only thing that might stop us is the wind. Luckily, living on an island there is always a lee side and we can often find sheltered places or pick a journey where the wind is going to help us along. If we feel that the wind is too strong for the ability of the group, the session will be cancelled and payment refunded. You will receive the detailed cancellation policy at time of booking.

Do you need any previous experience to go kayaking in Skye?

No. We offer sessions for all levels from complete beginner to advanced kayaker. We will group people with similar experience together in our full day trips. Half day sessions are aimed at beginners and improvers.

How long are the sessions?

The full day session normally starts at 9:30 and finishes around 16:30. Times may be different occasionally, depending on what other sessions are running that day.

The half day sessions run from 9 till 12:30 or from 13:30 till 17:00.

Private sessions can be 3.5 to 7 hours long
between 9:00 and 17:00

All times include kitting out, briefing, travel to the paddle location and back and packing up at the end. Sometimes things can take longer, so we’d advise not to have to tight a schedule after the sessions.

Is a full day not too long for a beginner?

No. Although the contact time is 7 hours, you will not be paddling the whole time. It takes time to get equipped and launched and we will spend a lot of time enjoying scenery and wildlife and will also have several breaks on beautiful beaches. A full day gives you more time to learn to kayak and to see the coastline in a relaxed, stress-free way.

What’s the difference between the Full Day and the Private Session?

A Full Day (and Half Day) session is open for others to book, so you might be paddling with other people in a group up to 6 of similar level. A Private Session is for you and your friends or family only and nobody else can book on that. From groups of 4 people or more the private session might be better value for you.

Is it suitable for children?

Yes! Kayaking is great with children and teenagers because there is so much to see and discover. There is no official minimum age, but a few things to consider. We use double kayaks for younger children but depending on size and ability children, can also use single kayaks, often from around 10 years old for part of the journey. It’s useful if the children have done other forms of sports before and are open to learning. We can only take children out along with their parents. It’s advisable to book a private session, so we can tailor your family day out exactly to your needs and ability (not available in July/August). Read more about kayaking with children. Prices for children are the same as for adults.

Do I need to be able to swim?

No. We all wear buoyancy aids, so swimming is not an essential skill to have. The chances of capsizing are also very small, and your guide will help you back into your kayak quickly, regardless of swimming ability. However you need to be comfortable on the water. If you are anxious about the water, you may not enjoy kayaking.

How wet will I get?

We do not get wet every time we go kayaking. Your feet will get wet, so please bring spare socks. As for the rest, you should not but of course it does happen occasionally. You will be equipped with a wetsuit, just in case.

I can’t roll. Can I still go kayaking?

Rolling is not an essential skill for a guided kayaking day. In fact it is quite an advanced skill that can take a long time to master. Luckily there are many other ways of dealing with a capsize, and the chances of capsizing are very small. But if it does happen, your guide will help you back into your kayak quickly. If you are at intermediate level, we can help you learn to roll if you wish.

What if I capsize?

Capsizing is by no means something that happens on every trip, but of course we are prepared for it. We will brief you at the beginning of your session and practise how to take off your spray deck. If you do capsize, your guide will help you back into your kayak quickly. It’s a good idea to leave jewellery and watches at home and to tie on glasses and other personal belongings just in case.

I’m quite large, can I still go kayaking?

We have lots of different kayaks in different sizes to suit most body shapes. Whether you are tall and slim, short and wide or generally quite big or small, there is a good chance we have something for you. Especially our double kayaks are great for both very small and very large people. If you have good strength and flexibility, it doesn’t matter if you are a bit bigger. If you are worried about fitting into our kayaks, get in touch to discuss the issue. Our boats do have a recommended weight range, and our guides need to be able to rescue you in case of a capsize.

I haven’t had a confirmation. What do I do?

When we receive your booking, we normally respond within 24 hours and send you a confirmation with the joining instructions and a list of things to bring. However, sometimes our emails don’t get through to people. If you have booked but not heard back from us after a couple of days, please email us again. If that is then still to no avail, text us with your email address or give us a call. We have recently experienced some issues with that.

Can I bring my dog?

You may have seen photos of people canoeing with their dog and wish to do the same. However, sea kayaking is not suitable for dogs. Sea kayaks have closed airtight hatches that your dog would not enjoy for very long. Even in a double kayak there is no space for a dog, as it depends on 2 people paddling, which leaves no space for a dog. Dogs can go in open canoes and possibly sit on top kayaks or SUPs, none of which we use. You can however consider a half day session and leave your dog behind or book it into our local kennels or our local dog walking service Pooch Patrol who and will look after your pet very well while you are out on the water with us.

Can I hire a kayak from you?

All our sessions include kayaks and all other equipment. Unfortunately, we cannot offer kayak hire for use without a guide for insurance reasons.

What is the difference between a Kayak, a Canoe and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)?

All different paddle sports are classed as canoeing under the governing bodies, the Scottish Canoe Association and British Canoeing. However, there is a big difference between the 3 craft: a canoe, also known as Canadian canoe is an open boat in which you kneel and use a paddle with one blade on one side. Several people can paddle one canoe. Canoes are mainly used on lochs and rivers. A kayak has a closed cockpit in which you sit and is much lower. Thera are lots of different kinds of kayaks, like river kayaks, which a short, racing kayaks, which are long and thin and sea kayaks which are longer than river kayaks but wider than racing kayaks, and therefore much more seaworthy. A sea kayak keeps its direction well in the wind and is also quite fast, so you can cover a long distance. A paddle with two blades is used, one on each end of the shaft. SUPs are a bit like a surfboard and a long paddle is used while standing up on it. They are great fun in the waves near the beach, but you can’t cover a long distance with them. We use single and double sea kayaks at South Skye Sea Kayak, no canoes or SUPs.