With so much coastline you would expect Argyll to be a mecca for watersport enthusiasts – well you’re right. Sea kayaking, river kayaking, sailing, diving and coasteering are very popular in the area with some fishing, windsurfing and water skiing also going on.

Sea Kayaking is one of the most popular watersports – Oban and the West Coast is now the most popular destination in the UK for paddlers. It isn’t difficult to see why, lots of sheltered bays and lochs, some narrows with a reasonable currents and some exposed coasts and crossings for the more adventurous. There are lots of potential starting off points but Arduaine, 15 miles south of Oban, is used for the ease of access to Jura, Scarba and the Garvellachs beyond and Oban itself is used for access to the Sound of Mull and Ardnamurchan.

Sea boatsWe have four local firms offering guided trips and rental of sea kayaks, Tony Hammock at Seafreedom Kayak, Ken Lacey at Sea Kayak Scotland, Colin McWilliams at Oban Sea Kayak Guides and Rowland Woollven. All are excellent paddlers and guides.

There are also other companies further afield on the West coast of Scotland offering sea kayak trips and hire including Clearwater Paddling on the Isle of Barra, Mountain and Sea guides based in Applecross and Kayak Wild Islay operating on Islay.


The West Highlands has some great rivers for kayaking including the River Orchy and the Etive and with the current (pardon the pun) trend towards freestyle paddling and smaller squirt boats the Falls of Lora has become very popular as every ebb tide gives a perfect surf wave with the wave forming during Spring tides for the expert only.

Oban is the best natural harbour on the West Coast and so is the centre of offshore sailing activities locally. There are several marinas within easy reach and a week long trip would be able to take in easier coastal areas or heading offshore out past Mull and onto the small isles or even as far as Skye. Oban bay is also great for dinghy sailing and the local club has weekly races open to visitors. Oban plays host to West Highland Week in the first week of August which is the Scottish equivalent of Cowes.

DSCF0956 dave b hartnoll's rock emailScuba diving is another popular sport in the area, with the warm Gulf Stream affecting the west coast it means that we get some great marine life and good visibility. There is a good variety of diving here from wrecks at all depths, narrows with strong rip currents and underwater cliffs that disappear down into the depths. Some of the sites are very exposed and require a reasonable amount of experience whilst some are nice and easy.

There is some shore diving but the best sites need boat access and there are several boat operators here some running day trips on RIBs and charter boats doing week long trips to some of the more remote spots.

The ultimate dive site is St Kilda, a group of islands 40 miles out into the Atlantic from the Outer Hebrides, where underwater cliffs and arches drop steeply from the surface to 60m plus, the marine life covers every available surface and the visibility is stunning. There is a good PADI school in Oban as well as several dive boat charters.