7 of the best places to go paddleboarding in Scotland

Paddleboarding is an up-and-coming water sport in Scotland. Photo: Shutterstock.
Paddleboarding is an up-and-coming water sport in Scotland. Photo: Shutterstock.
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With its beautiful wild coastline and world-famous lochs, Scotland is fast becoming a renowned destination for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

The sport, usually enjoyed on calm waters, allows you to unwind and take in the country’s natural beauty as you gently navigate your way around.

The Moray coast is a popular place to paddleboard in the sea. Photo: Shutterstock.

The Moray coast is a popular place to paddleboard in the sea. Photo: Shutterstock.

It’s easy to get the hang of and is great for strengthening your core and developing your balance - but be prepared to fall in the water a few times if you’re a beginner.

There are centres all over Scotland which allow you to rent the equipment needed. Here are some of the best places to get stuck into SUP - or to try it out for the first time.

Nairn and Moray

The Moray coast is home to some of Scotland’s best beaches and calm harbours, which are ideal for beginners and confident SUP enthusiasts alike.

Skye is a great place to explore. Photo: Shutterstock.

Skye is a great place to explore. Photo: Shutterstock.

Nairn’s two beaches and river offer reasonably shallow waters which are safe for all the family to have a go and there are local groups to hire your kit from in the town.

Harbours like Findochty are nice and sheltered and, for the more adventurous, you can enjoy the waves at Lossiemouth.

Moray is also the sunniest part of mainland Scotland, meaning you’ve got a good chance of great paddleboarding weather.

You can hire equipment and book lessons through Suds Surf School.

Loch Lomond offers great open water conditions. Photo: Shutterstock.

Loch Lomond offers great open water conditions. Photo: Shutterstock.

Perthshire and The Tay

The gentle waters of The Tay near Aberfeldy make for popular SUP locations, and there are plenty of options to hire gear nearby as well as guided lessons for absolute beginners.

Perthshire is one of the most varied paddleboarding locations, too. There are lochs, rivers and coastal options all relatively close to one another making Perthshire and Tayside a great place to try all aspects of the popular watersport.

The River Tay offers everything from whitewater rapids to gentle touring, while the River Isla and the River Earn are more easygoing.

Stand-up paddleboarding is good for the mind and body (picture: Shutterstock).

Stand-up paddleboarding is good for the mind and body (picture: Shutterstock).

Lochs Tay, Earn and Rannoch likewise have huge touring potential although these are better for more experienced paddleboarders.

Willowgate Activity Centre offers taster sessions and tours along the River Tay, with all gear included for £25.

St Andrews

The historic town of St Andrews boasts some of the more popular paddleboarding opportunities in Scotland.

Local watersports group Blown Away, based on West Sands, is a great place to give that a try.

On days when the wind is too strong, St Andrews is also a good place to try out paddleboarding on rivers and in the calm surroundings of the harbour.

Edinburgh

One of the most interesting ways to view Scotland’s capital is paddleboarding on Lochrin Basin and Edinburgh Quay, where you can take in the sights of parts of the city from the water.

Meanwhile, the beach at Portobello offers a peaceful setting or you can head to the idyllic village of Cramond at the mouth of the River Almond.

SUP Edinburgh and East Lothian offer courses and guided trips.

Loch Lomond

The flat waters of Scotland’s largest loch are ideal for paddleboarding.

The many islands offer shelter and places to explore, while the sheer size of the loch allows more experienced paddleboarders the opportunity to enjoy open water conditions.

There are places to launch your paddleboard all around the loch.

Loch Lomond Leisure offer equipment and courses.

Oban

A well-known location for a vast number of water-based activities, it’s no surprise that Oban is the launching point for lots of paddleboarding adventures.

Hiring services are easily available in the town, and you can venture out towards Mull and stop at the Isle of Kerrera.

You can also go to Dunnolie Castle, or stay closer to Oban and take in the hustle and bustle of the West Coast’s busiest ferry port.

Basking Shark Scotland offer SUP tours around Oban.

Skye

The island and its surrounding waters offer spectacular mountainous views and plenty of potential for exploration on a paddleboard.

The large seawater lochs also offer relatively safe and sheltered locations to try out the sport, however many of the trips around the island are for more experienced paddlers.

You can book tours and hire gear through Explore Highland.