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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Index 2 July

Sunday 3 July 2011

4 July

6am and the sun was already out. Calm waters and a clear Ben Nevis basking in the early warmth. Breakfast of cereal, toast, fruit juice, yoghurt and coffee started off the day.

We prepared to leave at 8.30am, and eventually exited Gairlochy top lock at 9am.

Our journey the other way through Loch Lochy was amazing, as the waters were extremely calm. The only movement in the water were a few sailing boats and a flock of swimming Greylag geese. The mountains were even clearer than they were yesterday. The ripples from our boat stretched out in a wonderful fan pattern behind us.

We passed our first night mooring spot at Letterfinlay, saw some Oyster Catchers preening themselves, and within 3 hours we had arrived at Laggan locks. It was approximately lunchtime, so we decided to go through the lock and moor on the other side opposite the Eagle Inn, the Inn on the Water.

Since we were actually at the boat base, we picked up a couple more pillows and towels, and had a snack for lunch on our boat.

Gairlochy lower lock moorings

Sailing on Loch Lochy



Laggan swing bridge

Invergarry Castle ruins

After lunch, we set off and made our way along Laggan Avenue and reached Laggan swing bridge after hour.

This section of the canal and Loch Oich is the highest point of the waterway, and Loch Oich is part of a hydro electric scheme meaning that the level can alter by a few feet during the day and night. We couldn't quite believe it when the bridge keeper waved us under!

With only a few inches to spare, we crept under the bridge and our Saltire flag almost touching the bottom of the bridge.

We spotted a free mooring place at Loch Oich picnic area, and took the opportunity to get a few more provisions from the small shop called Well of the Seven Heads store. There is a strange monument dedicated to 7 people nearby. We bought some ice creams and ate them in the park.

After about an hour at Loch Oich park, we decided to find an overnight mooring spot closeby. Within 30 minutes we had spotted an empty pontoon at Invergarry Castle ruins and near to Glengarry Castle Hotel.

There is a partial sunken ship here called Eala Bhan. It's an old Scottish Herring drifter used until very recently. Before dinner, we visited the castle ruins, had a look at Glengarry Castle Hotel and watched some deer in the hills on the other side of the loch.


Gairlochy Locks -> Laggan Locks. Cruising time : 2 hours (2 locks)
Sat nav n57.02695, w4.82502
Laggan Locks -> Loch Oich picnic area. Cruising time : hour (1 swing bridge)
Sat nav n57.05146, w4.7969
Loch Oich picnic area -> Loch Oich Invergarry castle. Cruising time : hour
Sat nav n57.0661, w4.77916

Index 2 July

Sunday 3 July 2011

4 July