Voyages from Fort William to Inverness Via Caledonian Canal
Slicing through the Great Glen of the Scottish Highlands, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour lie in near-perfect alignment between Fort William and Inverness. Only relatively short artificial canals were required to link them together. The result? A 60-mile connection between western and eastern seawaters, with water supply guaranteed.Thomas Telford, usually heads the plaudits for this spectacular feat of engineering – a feat in which his artistic inclinations were permitted to run riot. At more than 50 yards (46m) long, its locks were huge by the standards of the time. Many of them are arranged in `staircases` interconnected locks in which the top gates of one lock are the bottom gates of the next.
The massive eight-lock flight at Banavie, known as Neptune`s Staircase, is little short of breathtaking. The entire canal smacks of similar engineering feats on a grand scale, defying direct comparison with any other canal in Britain. This special trip will provide relaxed cruising with good company in sheltered waters whilst enjoying the benefits of living aboard a traditional pilot cutter. The amazing scenic contrast between East and West Scotland has to be seen to be believed.
Not only is the Caledonian canal an amazing feat of engineering , pioneered by Thomas Telford but its route takes you through Scottish culture and heritage fought over for centuries and the scene of countless battles.
Headless men and ancient battles
On returning from France in 1663, two members of the McDonnells of Keppoch were murdered by their uncle and his six sons during a family quarrel at a celebration. All those responsible were rounded up and beheaded, their severed heads being washed in the spring running into Loch Oich before being presented before the Chief in Invergarry Castle. The monument, erected in 1812 is at Invergarry Castle lwhich you will pass later today on during the sail up Loch Lochy.
Sail Over the Loch Ness Monster
You will sail up Loch Ness and also get a chance to spot Nessie. One of our skippers saw the Loch Ness monster in the summer of 1972 at the South West corner of the Loch so keep your eyes peeled. Further up on the port side (left) you will see Urquart Castle which is one of Scotland’s largest castles. It was used from the 13th to 17th centuries and featured prominently in Scotland’s struggle for independence under the control of Robert the Bruce.