Kayak Bute

Best Kayaking Spots on the Isle of Bute

Plants & Flowers Of Bute

Taking a kayak trip to Bute gives you the opportunity to discover a world of interesting wildlife that takes a trained eye to properly identify and appreciate. Whether you’re looking for seals bobbing their heads above the water, birds of prey wheeling through the sky, or plants growing on the shoreline, Bute is full of wildlife that you have the opportunity to learn about, should you wish to take the time.

Luckily, there are some wonderful resources online that make it easy to name a plant that you’ve found, but what if you want to create a checklist of some iconic plants that you can spot whilst you’re on your kayak trip? This list of classic Bute plants will give you something to keep your eye out for whilst you’re stopping at the shore to camp or take a wizz:

Thrift (Armeria maritima)

Not many locals know this, but the common Thrift is Bute’s county flower. Best spotted between April and July growing in wild bunches along the craggy coastline, the pink flowers of this plant are instantly recognisable and rather lovely. Although it’s most commonly found growing on cliffs, it is being increasingly spotted inland too, so you may spot it on your way to Bute!

Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima)

This plant is one of the most common of its kind around the world, in addition to finding it growing in the sand dunes of Bute, you can also spot this member of the mustard family multiplying across Europe, North Africa and the east coast of North America (where it is considered to be an invasive plant). It can be spotted by its shiny, green leaves and white to light purple flowers.

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)

The Cuckoo Flower’s bloom is one of the heralds of Spring here in Bute, its pale pink flowers can be spotted across meadows, ditches and riverbanks from April onwards. Flowering from April through to June, this is an example of another common plant that calls its home across the UK.

Mossy Cyphel (Minuartia sedoides)

The Mossy Cyphel is a rare plant that you’ll be lucky to spot on a single visit to the North East of Scotland. Growing in mountainous, rocky regions, this plant is easily recognisable by its crowded system of leaves and low mat of petal-less flowers.

Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria capreolata)

This shrub can often be seen scrambling up hedge banks and cliffs during the Winter, when it’s also known to flower. Once confined to the Channel islands, this plant has since broken out to the rest of the UK, where it can be spotted along the coast and in-land for miles around.

A note on invasive plants:

If you happen to spot a large mass of plant matter that doesn’t look like it quite belongs, or are concerned that you’ve come across a plant that is appearing to stifle the surrounding plant life then you may have spotted an invasive plant! Invasive plants effect public and private land across the UK, some of which can lead to some seriously nasty legal implications for those who aren’t aware. If you think you’ve spotted one of these plants then you can inform the local authorities by using iRecord’s reporting feature.

Alternative Activities: Beyond Brute

Not quite up for kayaking yet?

We understand that kayaking might not exactly be for everyone but that doesn’t mean that visiting Bute and the surrounding lads of Western Scotland is necessarily off the menu for you…

West Scotland is full of wonderful scenery and rammed with the kinds of fun activities that you’d expect in a country of people who are as proud of their country as the Scottish are.

You might have heard that there are plenty of things to do in North Wales, but there’s even more on offer here in West Scotland. Get in touch with these instructors and tour operators to see what else you could get up to on your next trip to Bute:

Rock Climbing with West Coast Mountain Guides


Having been established in 1988, Alan Kimber set about building a team of instructors that would uphold his high standards for quality instruction and safety. Today his crew of qualified instructors take groups out to all sorts of destinations throughout the year, including climbs up Ben Nevis and Winter climbing introductory courses. Guides and instructors are available to take your around many of the area’s most iconic ascents such as the challenging Cuillin Ride on the Isle of Skye.

SUP Stand Up Paddle-boarding


Whilst kayaking is doubtless a good starter for sport for anyone looking to get a paddle in their hands, there’s a lot to be said for the more recent invention of Stand Up Paddle-boarding (SUP). Wilderness Scotland is now offering a unique opportunity for over-stressed urbanites to escape their city (and their phones) for a weekend of care-free paddling, wild camping and casual nature watching. The price of the package is not to be sniffed at, but its a great way of experience the west coast by water, without sitting in a kayak that is!

Kite Surfing


TRYkitesurfing was set up by open-water swimming champion Mark Deans in 2003 making the centre the longest running in Scotland. Based on Barassie Beach, the school benefits from ideal wind conditions for kite surfing so Mark and his team can get you acquainted with this extreme sport as quickly as possible. Their aim is to be able to take you from complete novice to a confident solo kitesurfer, so that by the time your lesson is finished you’ll have the tools to start kitesurfing by yourself.

Island Hopping


Don’t think that you need to fly all the way out to South East Asia to get a true island hopping experience. Bute and the surrounding areas offer the perfect opportunity for intrepid explorers to bounce across a number of different craggy islands with the option for wild camping on nearly all of them. Whether you choose to take a ferry, hop in a sea kayak, canoe or hire a boat – the Islands of the Firth of Clyde are waiting for you to explore them, all you need to do is get out there!

Hiring Kayaks & Instructors: West Coast

Get to Scotland and get paddling!

Kayaking on the West Cost of Scotland is easy with the help of these businesses…

Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre

Mike Martin is the man behind Arisaig Sae Kayak Centre a professionally run outfit that offers a number sea kayak activities and courses to get stuck into. Mike holds the highest level of sea leadership qualifications in addition to a number of Advanced water coaching certificates making him a fully qualified kayak coach in any sea state. The Arisaig coastlines is famed for its turquoise waters and white sand beaches, all of which you can admire from the comfort of a sturdy sea kayak.

Website: https://arisaigseakayakcentre.co.uk/
Email: arisaigseakayakcentre@gmail.com

Sea Kayak Argyll & Bute

If you’d rather take to the water a little closer to Bute then Phil from Sea Kayak Argyll & Bute is the man to see. Phil takes dozens of organised trips out all across the world each year, in addition to offering specialist training in a number of areas such as Rolling, Outdoor First Aid and Sea Survival. Of course, a man such as this is in much demand and, as a result, he often finds himself booked for months so it’s best to get in touch with him as much in advance as possible.

Website: https://www.seakayakargyllandbute.com/
Email: phil@seakayakargyll.co.uk

National Kayak School

Oban is a must-visit tourist destination that should be on any visitor’s agenda, hiring a kayak from Sea Kayak Oban gives you the opportunity to experience this place from a completely different perspective. In addition to running their own independent sea kayak shop, the owners also offer day trips and courses for visitors hoping to see what this attractive part of the Scottish coast has to offer. Trips can be taken out to the neighbouring isles of Mull, Iona and Colonsay, to name a few.

Website: http://www.nationalkayakschool.com/
Email: info@nationalkayakschool.co.uk

Loch Goil Kayak Hire

Located right on the edge of Loch Goil you’ll find Carrick Farm, a peaceful place to stay that also offers kayak hire for up to 19 people at a time. There are a number of options open to paddlers keen to get a closer look at the stunning landscape including stable sit-top kayaks, open canoes and stand-up paddle boards for those looking to try something a little different. Although there are plenty of kayak options here, they do ask that any inexperienced paddlers stay within 50m of the shore.

Website: http://www.lochgoilheadkayakhire.com/
Email: kayakhire@carrickfarm.com