By Gabbi Armstrong
Communications Project Manager for the North Coast 500
Published: 2nd July 2018

White Water Rafting on the North Coast 500

Discover where to go white water rafting and who you can go with on the NC500. Situated near the start and end of the North Coast 500 – find out more from Jim Davis, owner of ACE Adventures & Hideaways.

Travelling along the route of the NC500 soaking up the amazing landscape and rich variety of places to stay and culinary delights to be discovered it is little wonder the the imaginations of so many are eager to explore the region.

The popularity that was the hidden gem of Scotland is proof of just how high the standards of experience are on offer in the area and the list is long.

Scotland is all about the outdoors and adventure, it is a big part of the culture.

White water rafting is one of the most globally popular adventure activities and a particular favourite recreational pastime in the United States. One of the reasons why white water rafting is the largest group adventure activity is because while it can have a perception of being an adrenaline fueled activity yet it is one of the safest, particularly when run by professional rafting providers.

Rapids are internationally graded up to 6 in difficulty with 1 being flat water and 6 being unrunnable.

There are numerous rivers with stunning waterfalls throughout the NC500 and where there are rivers there is an opportunity for white water rafting.

Two main areas offer white water rafting:

The River Garry

Descends Glengarry and flows into Loch Ness. This is a dam controlled white water rafting section that is a fun grade 3 trip. While it is a short section of river at only 1 km, there are a good number of solid grade 3 rapids and most rafting operators will provide at least 2 runs. Best time to go rafting is when water is released from the dam which is usually a Thursday and Saturday. There are operators south of Fort William that you can book a trip with.

The River Findhorn

Starts in the Monadhliath Mountains south of Inverness – the 7th longest river in Scotland and the fastest flowing in Europe due to it’s unusual geology. The Findhorn offers the best year round white water rafting in the UK with three different sections that can be run depending on the water level.

The top section around 11km long offers grade 4 & 5 white water rafting and is only done at high water levels making it an ideal section to use when the river is in spate (flood)

The middle section is shorter at 7km and has less gradient offering grade 2 & 3 rapids, best in medium to high flows and ideal white water rafting for young families and those a little apprehensive about going rafting.

The lower gorge section offers 11 km of stunning scenery and numerous rapids at grade 3 & 4. At medium water flows it is a world class white water rafting experience.

ACE Adventures & Hideaways are based by the River Findhorn and are the only rafting provider to run the lower gorge section. The staff are all trained under the International Rafting Federation Guide Training and Education Award.


White Water Rafting Accommodation

ACE also have camping and glamping on offer at the ACE base in the Findhorn Valley. There are low cost campsite pitches in stunning birch and scots pine woodland. Enormous 6 meter Bell Tents that sleep up to seven people with wood heaters and comfy mattresses. Luxury romantic glamping shepherds huts self contained in private natural surrounds. BBQ Fire pits, campfires and dogs are welcome.

Other activities at ACE include canoeing & kayaking, paintball, river tubing and cliff jumping, canyoning and disc golf.

Get in touch with ACE by calling 01309 611 729 or visiting their website


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