A Week on the Caledonian Canal, Scotland, July 2011

Start & end base:

West Highland Sailing, Laggan Locks, Spean Bridge, Inverness-shire, Scotland


Elegance class, number 18

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Friday 1 July 2011

2 July

Scotland from Somerset is quite a long way to travel by car in one day, so we decided to break up the 545 mile journey by staying overnight on 30 June at Alexandria near Loch Lomond. We chose the Sunnyside B&B and is a fine place to stop with an excellent breakfast.
We left Loch Lomond at 9:30am on 1 July for the 112 mile drive to Laggan, which includes a stunning section past Loch Ba and through Glen Coe. The Morrisons store at Fort William was on the way and quite close to the boat base, so we picked up some provisions from there.

Again we had chosen the leboat company due to the quantity and quality of their craft available. This was in no small part due to our excellent last trip on the River Shannon in 2008. With 4 people this time we had picked the Elegance class, a larger and more comfortable cruiser than we had had before.

We arrived at the West Highland Sailing boat base at 2pm, and after parking our cars we found the reception, were quickly processed and shown to the cruiser. We were supplied with life jackets for each person, and given instructions on the usage of various items like the gas cooker, pump toilets and electricals. There were a selection of navigation guides and craft instructions. We put all of our provisions and bags inside, and were ready to leave by 3.30pm. There was no need to show me (the skipper) how to handle the boat, as we had previous experience of similar boats.

Sunnyside B&B

Piper at Loch Ba


We had chosen the Elegance class due to the dual steering positions, good size for 4 people and with room for luggage and provision storage. Outside steering position means that you are in the lovely fresh air and sunshine, and in my view makes it easier to navigate especially when mooring or locking. This cruiser has a very good "always on" fridge, a microwave (only whilst the engine is running), a flat screen TV, and a radio/cd player. The radio has a usb input for things like memory sticks (and iPods), making it ideal for personal music.


West Highland Sailing

Mooring at Letterfinlay

The weather in Scotland hadn't been too nice for a few weeks, but on our arrival it was sunny, and looked settled for a few days.

We had asked the boatyard staff where they recommended we actually head that afternoon for the evening. He said that most people head towards Inverness (North East), probably because they were given instructions how to handle the boat and experience going up the lock. He also said that the weather forecast was a big factor. We decided to head South West towards Fort William and Banavie due to the favourable weather conditions, and duly left at 3.45pm

Although the boat could go faster, we decided on 1500rpm which gave very little bow wave or wake, and was approximately 5mph according to my satnav. There was no need to rush as we were on holiday!

After an hour of sailing, first through Loch Ceann, then into Loch Lochy in gorgeous evening sun, we decided to look for a place to moor for the evening. We spotted a private mooring for the Letterfinlay Lodge Hotel and decided to stop and then visit the lodge later in the evening for a few drinks.

At this time of year in early July, it doesn't really appear to get very dark at night as at 11pm it's still light enough to read.


Laggan boat base -> Letterfinlay. Cruising time : 1 hours.
Sat nav n56.9803, w4.8814


Friday 1 July 2011

2 July