A Week on the Caledonian Canal, Scotland, July 2011


Start & end base:

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

Craft:

Elegance class, number 18

Many more pictures are available via a Flickr set here You can email me here
 
Index 6 July

Thursday 7 July 2011

 
 

Sunshine and light rain to start our final full day. The boats have to be back at the base by 9 or 10am the final morning, so it seems to make sense to moor overnight at the boat base. We set sail at 9.15 in heavy rain, but as we reached Kytra Lock after hour it had eased off slightly.

Linda the lock keeper once again gave us gold stars to fix to our life jackets as we were again model crew in full attire.

After progressing through Kytra lock, a further 30 minutes saw us approaching Cullochy Lock. As it was now mid morning and we were in no rush, we decided to moor just after the exit to Cullochy Lock, and before Aberchalder swing bridge. We had a coffee and walked to visit the Bridge of Oich. The rain had stopped and the sun was now out.

We then made a slight mistake of setting off at just after midday when the lock and bridge keepers have lunch, so we had to moor on a canoe landing pad next to Aberchalder bridge until just after 1pm. We were unable to pass under the bridge this time, as the water levels were higher.

Warm and sunny again, we headed off to Invergarry castle moorings for our final lunch stop.


Moorings above Cullochy Lock


Bridge of Oich

 

 


Laggan Avenue


Lord of the Glens at Laggan

We left Invergarry castle just before 3pm for the final stretch of our trip. We had to wait for Laggan swing bridge to let us through, again due to the water levels, and then headed along the tree lined Laggan Avenue before navigating our final lock at Laggan.

Our final mooring point was in exactly the same bay as we had originally picked up Elegance 18 a week earlier.

A bit of excitement ensued as one of the biggest ships possible to navigate the Caledonian canal turned up to moor in the Laggan Lock overnight. The Lord of the Glens was apparently shortend to enable passage!

After doing most of our packing ready to leave in the morning, we decided to find somewhere to eat in the evening. We now had our cars, but unfortunately didn't plan that places may be full, and not many to find. We went to the Great Glen water park a couple of miles away and ordered takeways to take back to the boat to have with our last bottle of wine.

We had used just under 100 litres of fuel for the week, so had a small return from our initial deposit.

The Lord of the Glens duly left just after 8.30am on 8 July heading towards an overnight stay at Fort Augustus. I don't expect the crew will pull that along ....

 

We had a truly fabulous week, with pretty much perfect weather most of the time. The scenery is amazing and the sailing is really excellent. The cruiser we chose, Elegance, was ideal for 4 adults. The boat base at West Highland Sailing is a stunning place to start.

This trip is thoroughly recommended to do again and again. A little previous boating experience beforehand is helpful though not necessary. However in more difficult weather conditions, that experience may be essential.

To see the full sized pictures, click here to go to the Flickr site.
 

 

 
Fort Augustus top lock -> Cullochy Lock. Cruising time : 1 hours (2 locks)
Sat nav n57.09749, w4.73976
Cullochy Lock -> Aberchalder swing bridge. Cruising time : 5 minutes
Sat nav n57.09314, w4.74386
Aberchalder swing bridge -> Loch Oich Invergarry castle. Cruising time : 20 minutes (1 swing bridge)
Sat nav n57.0661, w4.77916
Loch Oich Invergarry castle -> Laggan boat base. Cruising time : 1 hours (1 lock, 1 swing bridge)
Sat nav n57.02492, w4.82747
 

 
Index 6 July

Thursday 7 July 2011