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 3 July

Monday 4 July 2011

5 July

We were blessed yet again with another fabulous day. With sun and blue skies at 8am, we had our breakfast and planned the day's cruising itinerary.

Leaving Invergarry castle ruins behind at 9.30am, we headed off towards the other end of Loch Oich and Aberchalder swing bridge. Once again the bridge keeper waved us under. This seemed even closer than under Laggan swing bridge yesterday!

After hour we were moored upstream of Cullochy Lock. We had a cup of coffee whilst we waited for other craft to share the lock. Within 45 minutes we were on our way towards Kytra lock. A swan followed us for a couple of minutes, flying and paddling to keep up in the hope of getting some food.

Kytra lock is less than 25 minutes from Cullochy, so we were soon entering the lock. The kind lady lock keeper gave us all gold stars as we all had our life jackets on.

After a meandering 45 minute sail along a tree lined section of the canal, passing a golf course on the right, we were entering probably the most picturesque part of the Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus.

Elegance in Cullochy Lock

Entering Kytra Lock



Fort Augustus top lock moorings

Fort Augustus staircase

Fort Augustus Abbey

Mooring at the top lock of the Fort Augustus 5 lock staircase, we had lunch and went to see the stunning views down the locks and out into Loch Ness beyond. With perfect weather, the scene is wonderful.

We took the opportunity to again fill the tanks with water. hour later it was full.

Craft are usually required to be pulled through the locks, all controlled by a number of lock keepers giving instructions to the boat crews. There are a lot of people watching this spectacle and it can take well over an hour to navigate through.

Last time in Ireland there was an incident where a boat got stuck against a bridge pillar due to the river current, this time there was a different incident! A couple in a Mountain Star class cruiser had problems mooring at the top locks before the downward navigation. The lock keepers and other fellow boat skippers eventually helped them to moor against our boat.
I had to drive both boats into the first lock, which we then had to pull the co-joined boats all the way down the 5 locks

After 1 hours we had pulled the two boats down through the five locks that make up the staircase. We untied the Mountain Star craft and let it go under its own power before we too headed under the road swing bridge at the Loch Ness end.

We decided to moor opposite Fort Augustus Abbey for the evening, and look around the village before dinner. After dinner, we went back into the village and had a drink in The Bothy.

There is a small supermarket near the road bridge to get some more provisions, especially since Loch Ness is so long and can take many hours to navigate. There are no shops close by en route either.

Fort Augustus is a very lovely village, and with perfect weather all day this was probably the best day of the whole trip.


Loch Oich Invergarry castle -> Fort Augustus top lock. Cruising time : 2 hours (2 locks, 1 swing bridge)
Sat nav n57.14413, w4.6872
Fort Augustus top lock -> Fort Augustus bottom lock. Pulling time : 1 hours (5 locks, 1 swing bridge)
Sat nav n57.14602, w4.6775

Index 3 July

Monday 4 July 2011

5 July