Rory Wilson - Sea Kayak Guide
The West Coast of Scotland has always been a special place for me.
Most of my childhood summers were spent staying with cousins at a cottage on the shores of Loch Sunart, just south of Ardnamurchan and Arisaig. From there we had all sorts of adventures; fishing for mackerel, making dens in the woods, having bonfires on the beach and of course paddling on the loch.
In those days we only had a couple of canoes and some very old fibreglass kayaks, and on one memorable occasion a raft cobbled together out of a bedstead and some old barrel buoys. They were wonderful times, and instilled in me both a love of the sea and passion for having fun in the outdoors that has always stayed with me.
Read more about Rory's journey as a sea kayak guide
This led to my eventually becoming an outdoor guide, moving to Fort William to enroll in an outdoor instructor course at the local college. I can still remember the first time I ever paddled a proper sea kayak on Loch Eil, and knowing that I had found the pursuit I wanted to specialise in. There is something incredibly graceful about sea kayaks once you learn how they move, and a real sense of serenity to be discovered when out on the water. And while I also love hillwalking and very much enjoy skiing, biking, and climbing, I know there is no better way to see Scotland at its wild best than from the sea.
There is something incredibly graceful about sea kayaks once you learn how they move, and a real sense of serenity to be discovered when out on the water.
Working as a sea kayak guide is rewarding for me in so many ways. First and foremost I am fortunate enough to work in some of the most wonderfully beautiful places in Scotland, and helping others to explore them as well and discover the possibilities of sea kayaking is incredibly satisfying. The nature of tides and weather, the range of wildlife and the many different people I have with me each time mean that each day has a little bit of variety, and a chance to learn something new.
The fauna and flora also change throughout the year, and in the years I have been guiding at Arisaig I have enjoyed some truly incredible wildlife encounters. It is still just as thrilling for me as it ever was to spot an otter fishing nearby, watch a distant gannet wheel and dive into the sea, or catch a glimpse of that elusive eagle overhead; they are always special moments.
Rory is a BC Advanced Sea Kayak Leader and a sea kayak coach. Additionally he is qualified as a Summer Mountain Leader and a Trail Cycle Leader in hillwalking and mountain biking.
Wild Camping and Expeditions
Wild camping is for me what really brings out the full scope of a sea kayaking trip, and takes me right back to those early childhood adventures. I think that some of my favourite times guiding have been at the end of an evening, after a good day’s paddle and a well earned meal, especially if we’ve managed to find some firewood. Sitting round a fire, under the stars if they are out, toasting marshmallows and sharing stories before bed, with the swish of waves on the silvery beach to send you to sleep afterwards. Perfect.