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Caledonian Canal Day 3: Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus via Loch Ness

Loch Ness is one of the top three tourist destinations in Scotland, along with Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye. Second to Nessie, a major draw of Loch Ness is 13th-century Urquhart Castle. One of the largest castles in Scotland, Urquhart attracted some 400,000 visitors in 2016. On our third day in the Caledonian Canal,…

Caledonian Canal Day 2: Muirtown Basin to Dochgarroch

We passed through the four-lock Muirtown flight at the start of our second day in the Caledonian Canal, then cruised the scenic waterway alongside, but above, the River Ness en route to Dochgarroch. Our total travel distance was five miles in three hours for an average speed of just over 1.5kts. The locks take up…

Caledonian Canal Day 1: Clachnaharry Sea Lock to Muirtown Basin

The Caledonian Canal extends 50 nautical miles southwest from Beauly Firth near Inverness to Loch Linnhe by Fort William. Only 19 miles of the canal are man-made and the rest extends through four natural freshwater lochs, including the famous Loch Ness. Along the way are 10 swing bridges and 29 locks, achieving a maximum elevation…

Inverness

Inverness was a great stop before our trip down the Caledonian Canal. In our last few days there we toured the beautiful Ness Islands and more of the canal by bike, stocked up on provisions, and got some local knowledge on cruising the canal from Paisley residents Pamela and Neil White. Below are trip highlights…

Kyle of Lochalsh

Picturesque Eilean Donan Castle, linked to the mainland with an elegant stone bridge, is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. The castle was built in the 13th century and restored in the 19th after it was destroyed during the 18th-century Jacobite rebellions. We took the scenic train ride from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh,…

First View to the Caledonian Canal

Our plan to return to southern Scotland via the Caledonian Canal was put together while we were still in Daytona, Florida in February of this year. So we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Since the canal is only a short distance from Inverness, we took the bikes over for a preview…

Inverness Arrival

Inverness, founded around the 12th century, is the capital city of the Scottish Highlands and a gateway to the Caledonian Canal. We arrived after an easy three-hour run from Cromarty Firth, and spent a great afternoon exploring this historic town along the River Ness. Below are highlights from October 7th, 2018 in northern Scotland. Click…

Cromarty Firth

Following an early-morning departure from the Orkney Islands, we rode the current south to Cromary Firth and found ourselves in an oil rig graveyard. With oil prices declining over the past few years, many North Sea oil companies have reduced production and towed some rigs to the protected harbor at Cromarty Firth. Some have a…

St. Margaret’s Hope

St. Margaret’s Hope is the terminus for the fast ferry Pentalina between mainland Scotland and the Orkney Islands. The bay also is an excellent anchorage, with plenty of swing room, good wind protection and convenient bus access to the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness. We very much enjoyed the anchorage, especially after the ordeal of…

Stromness

Stromness, on Mainland in the Orkney Islands, was once a major provisioning stop for Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) ships heading to and from Canada, and a major source of labour for the company. By the late eighteenth century, three quarters of the HBC’s Canadian workforce were from the Orkney Islands. The town has real character,…