Kayak trail set for spring launch

A sea kayak trail running the length of Argyll is due to be completed by the end of May, it was confirmed today.

The Argyll Coastal Waters project will create the Argyll Sea Kayak trail as well as expanding paddle-sports throughout the area and creating modern apprenticeships.

The kayak shelter at Ganavan near Oban
The kayak shelter at Ganavan near Oban

Delivered by Argyll and Bute Council and Oban-based outdoor social enterprise Stramash, the project aims to the development potential of the area’s coastline by creating an integrated kayak trail with easily accessible way-stations at key points along the route, which runs from Helensburgh in the south-east to Oban in the north-west.

At the moment the access sites at Ganavan (near Oban), Toward and Arduaine are almost complete.

The shelter in the Bute Forest is under construction, with work expected to begin at Crinan by the end of March.

The other planned sites, at Helensburgh, Dunoon and Tarbert, are all expected to be completed by the end of May.

The kayak trail will have its own dedicated website, which is currently being developed and should go live by May.

The £300,000 project is funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, Argyll and the Isles LEADER programme and the council.

The majority of the work on the shelters is being carried by local construction firm Stories (Argyll) Ltd, based in Dunoon.

The council has so far worked with businesses and community groups such as Scottish Canals, Tarbert Harbour Authority, Bute Forest and Toward Sailing Club.

The access its at Arduane
The access site at Arduane

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alastair Carmichael MP, recently visited the project and said: ‘’This project is a fantastic example of how communities can use resources from the Crown Estate, through the Coastal Communities Fund.’’

The council’s policy lead for economic development Duncan MacIntyre, said: ‘’ Marine tourism is such an important part of Argyll’s economy it’s great to see this project contributing to that. This could just be the first step – once this kayak trail is complete we could use this model to create more, all across the county and even to Northern Ireland.

‘’The modern apprenticeship aspect is vital – we need to equip our young people with the necessary skills to develop their careers within Argyll, rather than having to look elsewhere.’’