Book Review – PADDLE SCOTLAND, The Best Places to Go with a Paddleboard, Kayak or Canoe by Alasdair Findlay



The Best Places to Go with a Paddleboard, Kayak or Canoe

by Alasdair Findlay


A bit about the author

There is a brief biography of Ally on the sleeve at the back of the book, and knowing what a friendly, fun, and informative chap he is, I personally think he serves more space for an introduction! 

Throughout the chapters, you get a feel for his passion for paddling and for the beautiful countryside, and loch-side, of Scotland, and he weaves stories into each chapter.   Ally is a Water Skills Academy-accredited paddle board instructor and adventure guide.  And looking at the photos in the book and the descriptions of the paddles, it looks like you are definitely in for an adventure if you book onto one of his guided paddleboard tours or holidays, via his company Glasgow Paddleboarders.  (Click here to visit the website).

Launch date!!  27th April 2023 !!

Click here to buy from  Amazon

What’s inside the cover?

Following a clear list of contents split into regions of Scotland, you dive straight into Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, with a beautiful and passionate anecdote from Ally in which it is evident how much this area means to him.

Each of the regions has several locations to choose from and each is treated with the same, clear format, which includes a difficulty level, parking location, and launch point.  I particularly like to see the places to stop for a bite to eat! Well, if you are out all day, you need to know if you should pack a picnic or if there is a nice cafe or pub to take a break for comfort and sustenance.   Plus, of course, a detailed description of what to look for, such as wildlife and history, so you don’t miss out on anything.

Ally includes a brief history of each area, including local legends, and points you to other activities in the area, which clearly shows his detailed knowledge of all the areas in this guide.

There are beautiful photos of awe-inspiring views, from the coastline to mountains and lakes, plus cities and river banks. I particularly enjoyed the Brief History of each area and one of the paddles is centred around a historically-significant lighthouse, so you are getting a history lesson as well as a workout!   Once I read the first chapter,  Loch Lomond, I found myself flicking through each location and reading the brief history first!  Scotland has a fascinating history of which all Scots are understandably fiercely proud, and this genuinely comes across from Ally which entices the reader further. 

As an instructor and tour guide, there are many photos of his clients included and their enjoyment is clear to see. You cannot fail to be inspired to book a week off work and head to Scotland for a wonderful Paddleboarding adventure.

With vast lochs with inhabited and uninhabited islands, Scotland sounds like the perfect place for paddle-boarding adventures and this guide will help you plan a holiday or day trip if you are more local.

One thing I would say is that I would like a map with the locations marked on it as a quick and easy visual.  For anyone like myself who is unfamiliar with the geography of Scotland, it would help to see how far apart the paddle locations are and thereby make it a bit easier to plan a holiday.    If needing to book accommodation, you would want to know if you could cover a number of the paddle locations without having to move hotels!   That said, you would probably still need to use a map, either paper or via an app to plot your journeys between locations, so it is not essential, just a visual aid I personally like.

Another point I would raise is that I felt a ‘key’ for the water drop symbols was needed in order to easily understand the difficulty level.  When reading a few of the first paddle locations, for instance, the very first one, the difficulty level was ‘2 water drops’. But I didn’t know if this was 2 out of 5 or 2 out of 10… I had to check all of the locations to see what was the maximum number of water drops used in order to gauge how difficult ‘2’ was.  


Who would it suit?

All abilities, from locals who want to try somewhere new in their neighbourhood, to folks looking for a paddleboarding holiday.  It’s not just for paddleboarding, though, as it says in the title, it is also suitable for kayak and canoes.

Worth a read?

It’s a lovely read, and it really makes you want to get a map out and start planning a trip to Scotland.  The scenery is breathtaking and even if you have spent time in Scotland, this is a new way to see it, on cool tranquil lakes with the backdrop of mysterious mountains, drenched in fascinating folklore and history, or rugged coastline, equally as fascinating and beautiful to canals through cityscapes.


Written by Helen Louise Davies

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