A Scottish wilderness canoe adventure, Loch Awe 2019

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure

A Scottish wilderness canoe adventure, Loch Awe 2019

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure
Jason getting his pose on in the princess seat.

At the end of September, we took our first group on The Whisky Explorer trip to Oban for a four-day Scottish wilderness canoe adventure exploring the beautiful shores of Loch Awe. Altogether there were 4 clients, 1 photographer and 2 fuzzy faced canoe guides leading the way. Here is the story of how it all went.

Day 1 

Glasgow to Oban

We started the trip in Glasgow picking the lads up at their accommodation in the city centre. They had all travelled up the day before and stayed overnight ready for an early pickup. Once picked up we head out of the city north-west towards the coastal town of Oban. This took us about 2 hours driving through the scenic highlands giving us a taste of the adventure to come.

We arrived at the busy coastal town of Oban at 11 am and picked up some lunch before going to the Oban distillery ready for our tour at 12pm. The tour was expertly lead by our guide, who educated us on all aspects of making their famous whiskey. It really was an interesting tour, ending in the tasting room. Here we sampled three different bottles, with the Oban 14-year-old being my favourite. They even gave the drivers a tasting travel drams for later in the evening. After the tour, we passed through the shop buying a couple of bottles for the trip. It was then time to get back on the road. Our Scottish wilderness, canoe adventure was about to begin.

Starting our Scottish wilderness canoe adventure

We start at the north-west corner of Loch Awe and park at a road lay-by. Here we make our final preparations before loading and launching the canoes to start our expedition. To start with we go over canoe tandem essentials to get everyone paddling in the same direction. Then with the light winds blowing in the direction of our journey, we paddle off into the expansive waters of Loch Awe. It is only a short paddle to our first nights’ wild camp on one of the beautiful black Island’s in the middle of the loch.

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure
First nights campsite on one of the northern black islands of Loch Awe

We circle to look for the best camp spot. Once happy we land the canoes and start the evening routine of setting up camp. There are a few things to do before everyone can settle around the fire. The camp set-up involves: collecting wood; setting up your bivy; identifying a toilet location; starting a fire and setting up the group shelter.

These are all simple tasks once you know what to do, which we guide guests through every step of the way. Once camp is set up we got stuck into making dinner, on this trip it was chicken & sweet potato curry.

It’s always a nice group activity to help relax around the fire. Once dinner is cooking, we have some time to explore the small island and have a play in the canoes. The rest of the evening is spent around the fire getting to know each other and discussing tomorrows route, whilst enjoying the stars on a wonderfully clear night.

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure
The evening view from camp one on Loch Awe.

Day 2

Morning routine on the Loch

We wake to birds singing and a crisp still lake.

I always start my day with a little walk to wake up before uncovering the embers from the night before to get the fire going again. Food and drink are such an important aspect to any expedition, breakfast being the most important meal of the day! I get the water boiling and find my wooden spoon to get stirring the porridge. Soon everyone is up filling their cup and tucking into the delicious banana and honey porridge.

We then go about packing up camp which involves; packing up our bivvy; cleaning and packing the food equipment away; loading the canoes; doing a litter sweep; and finally making sure the fire is properly put out.

It was time then to launch the boats for our first full day on the water.

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure

A Long days paddle on Loch Awe

It was a still day again with light winds which makes for a very glassy lake. The weather always the aspect that dictates how the day’s paddle will go.

This day was very much about perfecting our tandem forward paddle technique and our J- stroke. We spent the day exploring the lakes and bays of Loch awe.

It was a peaceful day chatting away to our canoe partner, spotting interesting things on the horizon; washing our socks and underwear and generally taking in this spectacular environment. Every now and then stopping to explore or having some lunch.

Just after lunch we felt a breeze and thought we would give sailing a go. Unfortunately, once we had put up the sail it wasn’t to be, the wind had completely dropped. So we derigged and carried on paddling south towards our second nights camp.

Anthills on second nights wild camp.

True wilderness

We arrived late afternoon at our second nights camp, on the west shore close to the little island of Innis Errich, we found an absolute beauty.

Everyone got straight into the launching routine, and soon enough camp was set up. Whilst looking for a suitable bivvy camp, we came across an impressively big ant colony. With further inspection, we discovered interconnecting ant tracks throughout the forest. 

As it was such a long day paddling, some of the group wanted a wash so went for a quick swim, followed by drying off by the fire.

Dinner time soon arrived and as normal, the group got stuck in to helping out, soon enough we had the beef stew bubbling away over the fire. 

One of the lads going for a swim.

Whilst we waited for the stew to thicken it was time for the famous Mike Robbinson whiskey tasting quiz. This involved us getting into pairs, we had a selection of 5 different whiskeys to sample.

Mike would read a tasting description note and we would have to match our whiskey too. It went down a storm with lots of wrong answers but plenty of laughs. Soon enough the Stew was ready to chow down on and we continued sipping whiskey into the night.

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure
Sipping whiskey by the fire.

Day 3

It was a still and cloudy start to the day with a light breeze. I always love waking up in my hammock and peaking out to predict what the day will hold. On this morning I sensed a bit of wind in the air, which always gets me looking forward to the day.

This camp spot felt nice and wild, no noise pollution just the sounds of the forest and birds singing with the trees swaying in the wind, definately worth the journey.

A glassy Loch Awe, with the porridge cooking away.

It was a slow morning as we didn’t have a huge distance to paddle. Along with the possibility of some wind, we decided to have a relaxed morning. So after breakfast, we spent a couple of hours coaching the group on their canoe paddle skills which went down a treat.

Let’s go sailing

The wind picked up and we got on our way heading south again to our final camp. It was nice few hours spent paddling, sailing, navigating and exploring a few more tiny islands before arriving at the final camp. Once we launch the group jumped right to the normal routine to get the group camp ready for the evening. It is great to become part of a team whilst out on an expedition. It happens so naturally everybody getting stuck into the various task with smiles and a look of content.

The final evening was spent eating sausages, sipping whiskey and laughing into the night. We reminisced on the past few days, a great end to another wonderful Scottish canoe trip.

Scottish wilderness canoe adventure
Mike looking very content next to the fire.

Day 4

The final day of this Scottish wilderness canoe adventure is always a bittersweet affair, but there is always another trip on the horizon to look forward too.

On the last day, we start early to have time for breakfast, break camp and get the vehicles packed ready to depart for Glasgow. This leaves time to get everyone back to Glasgow for 1 pm, so they can carry on with the journeys. We say our goodbyes leaving with great memories. 

Reflections

Another great trip with a really top bunch of lads. It was a pleasure spending 4 days in the highlands. The weather was very calm for us which made for a relaxed and comfortable trip, with my personal highlights being;

  • The discovery of a new wild camp on the second night, and exploring the ant Colony – definitely a first.
  • The amazing whiskey tasting quiz that Mike put together for us and the many laughs we had.

If you have liked this blog please share and tag us when you do.

If you would like to find out more about our Scottish wilderness canoe Adventures or the Whiskey Explorer click on the links.

Finally here’s a short video of from the trip The Whiskey Explorer video

Top 5 Stag dos: Ideas for amazing adventurous activities in Wales

luxury stag weekends in Wales

Top 5 Stag dos: Ideas for amazing adventurous activities in Wales

Our top 5 amazing adventurous activities in Wales. Here at Bearded Men Adventures, we love a wet and wild Welsh adventure weekend. So have compiled our Top 5 stag do activities available in North Wales. We think these activities are a great way to make your adventure stag weekend last long in everyone’s memories. They are guaranteed to get everybody’s adrenaline levels elevated. 

Check out our top 5, hand-picked Welsh adventure activities you could choose from for your unique stag weekend.

#5 Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is an exhilarating adventure sport that is fun for all ages and abilities. This activity is filled with well-instructed skills and challenging games that will leave the whole group in fits of laughter. You can explore the canals and rivers of Llangollen, lakes of Snowdonia or the beautiful beaches on the west coast of Wales and Anglesey. Check out the links to gain more insight into what this great activity has to offer.

Amazing adventurous activities in Wales
Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Our Friends at Stand Up Paddle Boarding UK will set you up with everything you need to have a great adventure on the water. To see what you can be getting yourself into check out their latest video This Is SUP.

#4 River Tubing

River Tubing is a one-of-a-kind activity allowing you to run the exhilarating rapids of the River Dee in North Wales with all your friends with very little competence or skills needed. The Bearded Men instructors will guide you down the river in an engaging, safe way that will leave you wanting more. The half-day river trip combines running rapids, group games, and river surfing. Again check out the links to gain more insight into what this great activity has to offer.

Amazing adventurous activities in Wales
Tubing in Llangollen, Wales

River Tubing with  Bearded Men Adventures is a unique activity check out our video to see what it’s all about River Tubing @beardedmenadventures.

#3 Coasteering 

This is the perfect activity to clear the head after a fun night, you will be all in it together exploring the rugged welsh coast of Angelsey Coasteering. Coasteering provides you with challenging scrambles, spectacular scenery, discovering the sea from an aspect you would have never seen, exploring caves and of course jumping off big jumps. A Welsh stag weekend by the sea…Can you ask for anything more?

Check out the links to gain more insight into what this great activity has to offer.

Amazing adventurous activities in Wales
A great day out coasteering on our first stag weekend of the year.

Coasteering with  Bearded Men Adventures is a unique activity check out our video to see what it’s all about Coastering @beardedmenadventures.

#2  Bodyboating 

Bodyboating is a revolutionary water sport that combines elements of surfing, kayaking, and swimming. The boats are designed to be used by anyone of any skill level. They can be used in the sea on a lake or down a river. Just lie down, paddle with your hands, and hold on through the rapids! Check out the links to gain more insight into what this great activity has to offer.

Amazing adventurous activities in Wales

Our friends at BodyBoating are the only providers of this unique water sport in the UK! They will set you up with everything you need to have a great adventure on the water. To see what you can be getting yourself into check out there latest video Body Boating In North Wales.

#1 Canyoning

Canyoning brings the extreme to your stag weekend, with the biggest jumps, slides, and abseil’s in spectacular locations that will blow your mind. Bearded Men Adventures will guide you through the canyon with enthusiasm and humour. We will take you on an adventure you will never forget. Check out the links to gain more insight into what this great activity has to offer.

Amazing adventurous activities in Wales
Bearded Men Adventure Stag sliding off the big waterfall in the canyon.

Canyoning with  Bearded Men Adventures is a unique activity check out our video to see what it’s all about Canyoning @beardedmenadventures.

We hope this has inspired you to think of one or two activities to include in your adventure stag weekend in Wales.

Our Big Adventure Stag do’s in Wales

Our Big Adventure Stag do’s in Wales

Big Adventure Stag do's in Wales
The group suited up and ready to go rafting!!

3-day big Adventure Stag do’s in Wales

It’s not unusual for us to host big adventure stag do’s in Wales. However, last weekend was our biggest stag yet. With over 30 friends getting together to take part in the 3-day adventure near Llangollen, North Wales.

Arriving on Friday evening, we settled them into our base camp next to the River Dee. This is a great location 5 minutes drive outside Llangollen in Glyndyfrdwy, North wales. We dive right in provided games and activities to help get the party started. Including archery and axe throwing; the Austrian nail game as well as a variety of drinking games for after. With our legendary BBQ to top the evening off, catered for all meat-eaters, vegans and vegetarians. Our tailor-made welcome evenings provide you with the opportunity to catch up and relax into the celebrations.

Accommodation

big Adventure Stag do's in Wales
The first night of the stag, with the group settling in with our own BMA quiz…good times had by all.

We set up an incredible private campsite for you to call home for the weekend. You can sleep in our cosy Bell tents or you can pitch up your own tent, there’s also room for camper vans.

Activities

Big Adventure Stag do's in Wales

Friday – The group arrived at 12:00 pm and had lunch in the beautiful town of Llangollen. We partnered up with our friends at Whitewater Active, to take the group whitewater rafting down the exciting River Dee.

Saturday – We went on a full days adventure Canyoning in Snowdonia an hours drive away. This was a great day of swimming, pool jumping, sliding and abseiling down waterfalls.

Sunday – We headed to the coast for the last activity of the weekend exploring the rugged Welsh coastline. Another great day climbing and traversing; swimming and jumping in the sea at this amazing location in Anglesey.

Adventure stag weekends for large groups

Watch the highlights from the weekend here.

Here at Bearded Men Adventures, we custom build you the most exciting & adventurous Stag or Hen weekend you could hope for. We provide everything from activities, accommodation, food and drink, hosted by our founders Jason and Hugh. We work with you every step of the way to plan, organise and run your unique trip – so you have none of the hassle.

Find out more about our tailor-made stag and hen weekends here.

Working with Essential adventures…

Coasteering with bearded men adventures

Working with Essential adventure

Stag do packages North Wales
Posing before running into the sea

Being a small company we find it useful to work alongside other companies that we can work with to help improve our Stag do packages North Wales and visibility. One of those companies is Essential Adventure who we have been selling our packages over this past year. They have written a nice little blog post for us to share, check it out:

Essential Adventures: Stag do packages North Wales

“When looking for an adventure, we mean a REAL adventure, it’s useful to have expertise in the best places to go and have a plan for the whole trip. The (child-friendly version of the) saying goes that ‘Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance’ and with so many things to organize for an amazing adventure. It’s best to get help from people who know their onions.

Hugh and Jason at Bearded Men Adventures are two such chaps. With a vast knowledge and experience of the great outdoors. They know exactly the best places to go and activities to do, to best suit your group. From Bushcraft to Coasteering, Canoeing to Mountaineering and everything in between. Bearded Men Adventures can sort you out with the perfect activities for your event. Whether a stag do, hen party or just a group of like-minded people looking for some fun, it can be done.

Stag do packages North Wales
One of our stags enjoying an archery and axe throwing session

What else we do

Bearded Men Adventures don’t stop at just activities though, oh no! Hugh and Jason can build custom packages. This will include accommodation, food, and activities all rolled into one awesome price. If it’s easiness of organization that you’re after, then that’s exactly what Bearded Men Adventures offer.

Their set packages offer a ‘ready-made’ option, meaning even less to think about.  However, if you’d like something slightly different then all there is to do is ask and they will discuss the possibilities with you.

What they offer ranges from individual activities through to 3-4 day events, ll run by Hugh and Jason. With their experience and enthusiasm, they ensure that any activity or break is made to be as much fun as you can handle. While being carried out with ultimate professionalism. Your group’s safety is always put first and so you can sit back and relax by booking with BeardedMenAdventures.

If you’re not 100% set on a Welsh adventure, then get in touch with Essential Adventure. Who can discuss alternative locations throughout the UK. Essential Adventure can also offer tailor-made packages to suit your group’s needs. We have loads of experience of what’s available and what the best options will be for your group.”

If you are looking for something a little bit different from what we offer, go check them out at Essential adventure. They will help you organize a great weekend for your group.

Stag do packages North Wales
Hugh cooking the stew on the Whisky Explorer

Bearded Men adventures stag do packages

Check out our stag & hen packages on bearded men adventures site or get an insight into our amazing weekends from a youtube channel.