Antipole cruises

Eastwards through the Caledonian Canal

Loch Linnhe

From Oban it is 30nm up Loch Linnhe to Fort William and the entrance to the Caledonian Canal at Corpach.

At long last we have fair weather, even some sun, and fair winds, so we took three days over this staggeringly beautiful stretch.

First we sailed 12nm to Dallens Bay, tucked away behind Shuna Island. There we went ashore and walked up to the Castle Stalker View Café, which, as the name implies, has a magnificent view over Castle Stalker on Loch Laich. Castle Stalker was used as Castle Aaaaarrrrrggghhh in the final scene of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was surprising how many visitors to the café were keen to photograph it.

Then it was another 8nm to Kentallen, where the former railway station has been converted and extended into a resort hotel The Holly Tree. The hotel has provided a few visitors’ buoys and we took one and had our evening meal there – very enjoyable. As the evening drew in, the clouds forming on the Ardour mountains opposite were dramatic.

On the third day we had beautiful sun for a gentle run up Upper Loch Linnhe to Fort William. The scenery, which we could at last enjoy, was dramatic, with the Ardour mountains on one side and Ben Nevis on the other. We even managed to lunch at the cockpit table rather than taking turns to eat hand-to-mouth. Scotland has finally delivered!

Fort William

We locked through the Corpach Sea Lock into the first part of the Caledonian Canal and cycled into Fort William to see the sights. Fort William is the second largest settlement in the Highlands after Inverness. It is these days noted for the aluminium smelter built together with a hydroelectric power station and for its dramatic backdrop of Ben Nevis.

Castle Stalker
Ben Nevis over Fort William

Neptune’s Staircase

From the lower basin we ascended a flight of eight locks known as Neptunes Staircase. First we had to wait overnight because the cruise ship The Lord of the Glens was passing through. She had been build to the maximum size that the canal and its locks can handle. It was indeed a tight fit. When it was our turn we ascended with four other yachts. It took just under three hours.

Loch Lochy

The next day we passed along the canal, through another lock and into Loch Lochy. We anchored off Achnacarry. Back in time this was the seat of Clan Cameron. The ancient castle has long gone and a more convenient house built. Today it is little more than a few houses and the clan museum. We made a fairly long walk ashore and discovered the lovely Cameron church tucked away in the woods.

That was the end of our four sunny days – back to the drizzle. The next day we had a long beat up Loch Lochy and then motored through more canal, through the smaller Loch Oich and further canal. This section was deeply wooded.

Fort Augustus

After several more swing bridges and a couple of locks, we came to Fort Augustus.

Fort Augustus is centred around a flight of four locks down into the south western end of Loch Ness. Everything happens on the side of this avenue.

Fort Augustus locks

Loch Ness

From Fort Augustus we sailed the length of Loch Ness. The first day we had a gentle spinnaker run before anchoring overnight off Foyers. No sign of Nessie 🤔.

The next day it was a run for the rest of the loch and then through  Loch Dochfour before several locks and then the descent down a flight of four at Muirtown. Here we berthed overnight in the Seaport Marina.

Loch Ness

From here we have two further locks to take us out into the Beauly Firth and round into Inverness Marina, where we will be laying up at the end of our season.

Ynskje & Tony

Track log here.

2 thoughts on “Eastwards through the Caledonian Canal

  1. Sandy Bell

    Your patience has been rewarded. So pleased, at last, you have some lovely sailing weather to enable you to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. I love your photos.


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