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Bushcraft Canoe Expedition,

River Spey, Scotland

River Spey bushcraft canoe journey
open canoe river Spey descent course
Spey canoeist meets a Highland Cow
Wildwood Bushcraft canoe expeditions
River Spey canoe classic journey
The River Spey Descent - a Classic Canoe Journey, with Bushcraft Skills 

The River Spey is a fantastic touring river and the fastest flowing in Scotland. With its scenic, wooded shores and white water it is a journey to remember.  The journey starts with gentle meanders and small rapids, allowing you to build up your confidence before the larger rapids towards the middle and end of the trip. This makes it enjoyable, but not too daunting for the novice canoeist.

The expedition is a four day paddle starting from Kingussie, high up the river and ending at the sea. We will be combining white water canoe skills, bushcraft and nature watching while en route.  We include some paddling practice and instruction before heading down the river.

The trip should suit anyone from a moderate river canoeist to a beginner - we will train you in the skills required to negotiate the river.

Travelling by canoe can be great for watching wildlife. On a recent trip down this river we saw an otter (it carried on fishing midstream while we drifted past!), ospreys and a variety of waterfowl.

The distance to be traveled is around 60 miles and the river is classified as grade 2.  We will be wild camping at strategic points along the river.

Learning Outcomes


Here are some of the key skills you will be learning:


  • basic paddling (for beginners)

  • white water skills such as breaking in and out, ferry gliding which would contribute towards necessary 3 star BCU experience

  • basic camp-craft and "Leave no Trace"

  • knife and saw use

  • spark firelighting techniques with reference to local tinders and cooking on a fire

  • local plants and their uses

  • shelter principles, clothing, and how to set up a hammock and tarp system (available for hire or purchase on the expedition)

  • identification and ecology of wild animals encountered en route

More Details


Price: £650 per person

Location:  Kingussie Camping and Motorhome Aire campsite.  Can arrange to pickup from Aviemore Station


Duration:  4.5 days: meeting at 13.00 day 1 and ends around 15:00 on day 5.

Group size: up to 6 customers

Facilities provided: Tarp, canoes and associated equipment, drinking water,  hot drinks, cooking pots, and food for all main meals.

What to bring: Course-specific kit list


  • be over 18 years old;

  • have some outdoor experience (e.g. hill walking, camping, adventure sports, bushcraft etc.)

  • have a reasonable level of physical fitness (you will paddle 25 km per day)

  • be able to swim 200 metres


"Leon and Steve, thank you so much for your patient manner teaching me all the technical paddle strokes and taking care of me making sure I was safe at all times.  I have learnt so much from you both.  Although it may have looked like I was concentrating too hard to be having a good time, it didn't hit me until I got home and for the week after, how much I actually enjoyed the whole experience being on the water and wild camping. I've been thinking about what adventure we can do next."
Georgina R. 

"Thank you very much for a beautiful trip to the River Spey. I really enjoyed it and absolutely loved every second. All the skills for this trip- paddling skills as well as bushcraft skills- we were taught in a professional, clear and kind manner.The guidance that Leon provided whilst I tried the techniques of making fire with sparks was extremely helpful. And Peter was a great teacher in paddling skills, he always had a lot of patience and prepared us step by step with the necessary skills we needed for the river hazards. Every time I felt very comfortable, safe and supported. Well done and a great job. It was my first trip with Wildwood Bushcraft, but it will not be my last one.- Claudia  B.

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