There are so many places of natural beauty to explore in Scotland, so these are just a few of my regular favourites on the doorstep. Since it is the season, I’ve included a couple of autumn favourites too!
Isle of Arran
This island has it all and is known as ‘miniature Scotland’. Amazing marine life, good snorkelling and spectacular mountains in the background. There are lots of beautiful areas to explore, the marine protected area and No Take Zone between Lamlash and Holy Isle, Brodick Bay, Sannox and Corrie, and Lochranza. Dolphins and even minke whales and basking sharks are all visitors to this area.
This is a great spot to watch the West Coast sunset with a silhouette of the Isle of Arran from the mainland. You can paddle to Portencross castle or over to one of the smaller islands from here too. It is a shallow and sandy beach so great for beginners and young paddlers. Curious seals will often pop up to see you here or even follow you along for a while, but just be mindful not to get too close when they are resting on the rocks at low tide.
Isle of Cumbrae
This is one of the staple paddles on my doorstep, especially for a close by SUP camp. If you don’t fancy the crossing from the mainland, there is a small ferry which goes crosses regularly. There is a safe bay to launch from at the bustling Kames Bay. If you’re looking for a longer paddle, there is also the option of a 20K circumnavigation of the island from Largs Yacht Haven. Fintry Bay is a lovely café to stop off for a rest and an ice cream half way.
This Loch in the Trossachs National Park has many different aspects to enjoy. It is
surrounded by lush trees, so provides a beautiful colour palette in autumn. There are a couple of small islands to visit, and it even has a bothy if you fancy an overnight! You can also paddle down the beautiful Narrows from here.
Almost every year I paddle this river in autumn.
Located in the heart of beautiful Perthshire, and surrounded by trees, you can paddle the River Tummel from Loch Faskally to the Linn of Tummel waterfall. As with all rivers, the currents will depend on the level of water so always worth checking this before you set off.
+1 BONUS! Loch Lomond islands
Probably the best known paddleboarding spot on this list, but for good reason. The various islands on Loch Lomond such as Inchtavannach, Inchconnachan and Inchlonaig make for great lunch and rest stops during a day of exploring. Just beware it is a legal requirement to wear a buoyancy aid on this loch. This is also one of the busier lochs with other watercraft to
be aware of.