"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats." Ratty to Mole - "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame
It's hard to beat a day exploring Arran's coast by sea kayak. You get to look at the island from a new angle. We
frequently see seals, otters, dolphin and porpoise, and occasionally basking sharks. We can guarantee a plethora
of sea birds, too, including likely close encounters with gannets, terns, Eider ducks, guillemots, cormorants and waders.
At Otter's Tail we have a fleet of Scorpio sea kayaks in various sizes. These are great all-rounder, versatile boats, suitable
for both beginners and advanced sea paddlers. They allow for good speed without compromising on stability. To enable younger
children and less confident paddlers to join in we also have three Horizon Blackout tandem kayaks.
We are fortunate to be based at Lamlash pier, the perfect location for launching.
Most of our half day sessions take place here in the bay. Whenever possible we make the two kilometre crossing to the Holy Isle. Under
18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To keep everyone moving happily forwards together, children between 8 and 12 years
are usually asked to go in tandem boats with an adult. (If you have very experienced children by all means contact us to discuss).
If you choose a whole day trip, the possibilities are endless. A popular option is to kayak to Holy Isle and spend a few hours
climbing to the top of the 324m summit and exploring the island before kayaking on and round, and home. Alternatively, the option
of a one-way journey can be offered anywhere on Arran. The weather will dictate what journeys are best on any given day, but a
typical day trip for us is from Kildonan to Lamlash or Lamlash to Corrie. Children need to be 12 to undertake a full day
Are you an intermediate paddler looking for more challenge? More speed? More excitement? Kayak sailing is for you if you do, and
Otter's Tail are one of only a few providers currently able to take you.
The sails are very effective downwind, enabling us to cover a larger distance - usually a one-way journey on the water, with a shuttle back to base.
We prefer to offer kayak sailing for a whole day, and due to the extra equipment and smaller group sizes,
it does cost a little bit more. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Beginner or intermediate and beyond?
When you contact us we will ask about your kayaking experience. We can cater for everyone from
total beginners upwards, but it's best to keep people with similar experience and expectations together.
If you have been kayaking a few times, you are happy to wear a spray deck, you are comfortable in winds of up to Force 3
and you are up for a challenge then we would class you as an intermediate paddler. Let us know your experience at the time
of booking and we can put you in with a similar level of paddler.
There are a few reasons you might want a private booking. You might prefer to paddle with solely your own party. Because it is essential
that we keep groups together, and because we like to make sure that groups are well matched we prefer to take smaller children in groups of
their own family and friends. It's also good value this way.
Please see our bookings page for prices, and our calendar page for availability. If
you'd like to make a booking, please contact us.
Have a great day out before everyone else gets up in the morning
"The finest hour that I have seen
Is the one that comes between
The edge of night and the break of day
It's when the darkness rolls away"
'Across the Great Divide' by Kate Wolf
We absolutely love to get up really early and paddle into the dawn. We often have our best wildlife encounters in the calm and
quiet before the rest of the world gets on the go. It's a lovely feeling to come home for breakfast knowing that you have got
your day off to an amazing start.
We can also offer the opportunity to kayak in the dark to the Holy Island and then climb up to the summit for the dawn. You'll
get back to Lamlash for breakfast having already had the best day of your holiday.
We are also up for grabbing the last of the light and paddling at dusk. These are magical and memorable paddles.
Circumnavigate Arran by Sea Kayak
We can take you right round Arran by sea kayak if you choose our 5-day circumnavigation option. The week begins with a
practice day going over rescue skills and gaining familiarity with the boat, then we spend four days paddling right
round the Island. Depending on the weather this may also entail a visit to Carradale on the Kintyre Peninsular. As
part of the 5-day course those with the required skill level can also achieve their Sea Kayak Award.
("Operation Marigold" video by kind permission of Dom Moorhouse)
Sea Kayak Award
Fancy gaining a personal proficiency award in sea kayaking? We run 2 and 3 day Sea Kayak Award courses, making
use of the best Arran has to offer. You'll journey around Pladda, Holy Isle or the Cock of Arran and enjoy
theory sessions in the evening. We will cover all aspects of the course. You can find the
It is possible to complete the syllabus in two days, but we recommend the third day as it gives you more
time to consolidate. With this in mind we offer the third day and 2nd evening session for only £50.
Visit Ailsa Craig by Sea Kayak
The ultimate trip is the two-day journey to Ailsa Craig. This fascinating island is 21 kms and a very committing
paddle away! This voyage is obviously only possible in the right weather conditions. If the weather rules out the
crossing to Ailsa Craig we will make alternative plans to explore more sheltered pasts of the Clyde Coast. We really
need to know that you are up to this trip! You need to be at least the standard of the old 3 star award - or the
new sea kayak award and have paddled with us before. Feel free to contact us.
We can also offer bespoke trips
If you have a particular trip in mind, just get in touch. You might fancy the 'five ferries' by kayak - a five
day trip from Arran around the North end of Bute and back to Arran. We can either paddle all the crossings or
make use of the ferries where the weather is not suitable.
Whatever trip you have in mind, let us know - once you are on the water, the world is your oyster.