River Spey
The classic touring river of Scotland, the River Spey is one of the most best places for canoeing and kayaking in Britain. With moving water and rapids of grade I and II, some skill and experience are required, but in normal conditions the difficulty is not too hard. In higher water, the river can reach Grade III and is a serious place to be. The most common issue is the swamping of open canoes in bouncy wave trains. The river passes through some spectacular scenery, and is never without interest. The section normally canoed is from Newtonmore to Spey Bay, though in low water it is common to start further downstream at Loch Insh near Aviemore. Typically it will take 3 days of paddling to reach the sea. There are famous rapids at Blacksboat (The "Washing Machine") and Knockando. There are opportunities for responsible wild camping, but there are also a number of very simple camp sites. If you do not own your own canoe it is possible to hire canoes, and guides, for the Spey. It is also possible to use taxi services to get to and from the start and finish points, as several companies are used to the needs of canoeists.