The 5 Best Beginner Stand-up Paddleboard locations near Edinburgh | Tiso Blog
Stand-up paddleboarding (also known as SUPing) has boomed in 2020! People from all walks of life are taking up this sport and reaping the benefits of getting into nature. There are some great paddle boarding locations across Scotland and many beginner friendly sites are just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh.
SUPing gives you a new perspective on the outdoors, from your lofty position you can command your waterway, seeing far into the distance and deep into the water beneath your feet. Stand-up paddle boarding is also brilliant exercise, challenging your core muscles, legs, shoulders and quickly improving your balance.
Here at Tiso we stock paddleboards from Red Paddle co. and Verano as well as a great range of safety equipment and even paddleboard hire for a day or weekend adventure.
We love nothing more than exploring our local area, and have put together a list of our favourite beginner friendly paddleboarding locations near to Edinburgh city centre (and our head office!).
1. Union Canal
The Union Canal runs from the heart of the city centre at Fountainbridge to the Falkirk Wheel, a total distance of 32 miles.
Paddleboarding along the canal is permitted and easy to access along the majority of the canal from the tow path. You can experience paddleboarding in the heart of the city centre from Fountainbridge or start further west to experience paddling through the beautiful countryside of the central belt.
Our favourite spot to launch is from Ratho, a short drive from the city centre. Following the canal west you will cross the Almond Aqueduct with impressive views down to the River Almond.
2. Threipmuir reservoir, Pentland Hills
Nestled within the Pentland Hills Threipmuir reservoir is a brilliant beginner paddleboarding location within easy reach of Edinburgh.
Uniquely this reservoir contains large amounts of peat, making the water surprisingly warm (water temps have been known to hit 22c in summer!). These warm temperatures and easy beach access make it popular with wild swimmers and paddleboarders alike.
Head to Threipmuir reservoir car park, it is just a short walk along a tarmacked road to the edge of the water. With limited space this car park can get very busy during peak times so why not head out for an early morning or evening paddle?
3. Portobello Beach, Edinburgh
The seaside suburb of Portobello offers a brilliant location to paddleboard in favourable weather. With two miles of golden sandy beach and views back towards the city and Arthurs Seat this is an idyllic location to pump up the paddleboard and hit the waves.
Located just three miles from the city centre and with heaps of beach front cafes along the promenade, Portobello beach can become very popular on warm summer days.
4. Lochore, Fife
A brilliant paddleboarding spot, a little further from the capital is Lochore, Fife. This large loch forms the core of Lochore Meadows Country Park and is most commonly used for leisure activities such as sailing, open water swimming and paddle sports, including paddleboarding! Lochore also hosts many events each year including the Scottish Open Water Championship.
Lochore is a brilliant place for paddleboarding for beginners and more seasoned paddlers alike. Free parking is located next to the visitors centre and then it is just a short walk to launch your board from the beach. The loch is home to three islands which you can easily paddle to and explore on a calm day. The visitors centre boasts toilets, interactive displays and a café, perfect to refuel after a paddle on the loch!
5. Wardie Bay
Adjacent to Granton Harbour, Wardie Bay is a small sandy beach a stone’s throw off of the main Granton Road. It is fair to say that Wardie bay lacks the seaside holiday vibe of Portobello, but this quaint beach has its attractions for paddleboarders.
The long breakwater extends 800m around Granton Harbour and in turn creates great protection for the water at Wardie Bay and calmer conditions for paddling close to the shore.
Access is very straightforward with bus links and parking on the main road, then it is just a very short walk to the waters edge. Often popular year-round with stoic wild swimmers, Wardie Bay is not to be overlooked as a great paddleboarding venue.
SUP Safety Top-Tips
• Always aim to paddle with a friend, it is more fun, and they can help if difficulties arise. If going out alone, always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be finished.
• Check the weather forecast, wind speed and tide times before heading out. As a beginner you need the winds to be low and the water to be calm, be aware that the weather can change very quickly.
• Avoid offshore winds. On a paddleboard you are greatly affected by the wind and can be blown far out to sea very quickly, it can be extremely hard to paddle back to shore.
• Always wear a suitable personal floatation device. Choose one that still gives you plenty of movement while paddling.
• Always use a paddleboard with a leash. Not only is it frustrating to have to keep swimming after your board if it floats away, but being connected to your board is your biggest safety advantage, it is a fundamentally a large floatation device.
• Get some training! As tempting as it is to grab your board and head straight out, a lesson with a qualified instructor is recommended. A lesson will teach you the best, energy-efficient paddling techniques as well as crucial lessons on paddling safety.