Water-based activities

Occupying a central position in the Cairngorm National Park, Kingussie provides an ideal base for water sports. Summer is the peak time when the weather is better and the water temperatures rise, but the rivers can be higher in spring and autumn making river sports more interesting to many enthusiasts.

Canoeing and Kayaking

The river Spey is one of the 4 major canoeing rivers in Scotland and has long been recognised for canoeing and kayaking. Access from Kingussie is easy at it runs just past the town. The bridge at Ruthven road makes an ideal launch for canoeing downriver through the Insh marches to Kincraig, Aviemore and beyond. Alternatively launch 4 miles upstream at Newtonmore for a more up-river stretch (the campsite at the west end makes a good launching point) and finish at Kingussie.

If you have your own equipment Loch Insh, Loch Morlich, Loch Laggan or smaller lochs such as Loch Garten offer easy launch sites.

Hire canoes, kayaks, wet suits and other equipment at Loch Insh or Loch Morlich.  Both are family-friendly and cater for children as well as adults. Loch Insh has pedalos.

Wilderness Experiences, based in Kingussie, offer guided canoeing and bushcraft journeys down the Spey in open or Canadian canoes.

Spirit of the Spey, based in Newtonmore, offer guided open canoeing on the Spey, adding in a dram of local whisky for authenticity.

  • For organised kayaking and open canoe trips check the Loch Insh or Loch Morlich websites.
  • Local companies such as Go2outdoor based in Aviemore offer adventure days river canoeing, kayaking or white water rafting.
  • The Visit Cairngorms website provides a full listing of Canoeing and Kayaking in the Cairngorms National Park.
  • See the Scottish Canoeing Association for more details of canoeing the Spey.
  • See the SEPA website for up-to-date water levels.

Gorge Walking and Canyoning

If staying in Kingussie you can easily sign up with the G2outdoor or Craggan Outdoors and take part in one of their Canyoning or Gorge Walking adventure days.


In warm summer days any of the local lochs become sites for swimming, especially the famous beach at Loch Morlich. From Kingussie it is little more than an hour’s drive to the golden sandy beaches of Nairn or Lossiemouth on the Moray coast. In less clement Scottish weather the nearest public swimming pool is the Spey Valley Leisure Arena in the Macdonald Aviemore Resort. It’s a 25m indoor pool and has flumes for children.