The Caledonian Canal

A Thomas Telford engineering masterpiece

The Caledonian Canal - considered by many to be one of the greatest waterways of the world, a masterpiece of canal engineering, slicing through the length of the Great Glen, a massive geological fault in the Earth's crust .

The canal runs 62 miles (100 km) in a straight line from Inverness to Corpach near Fort William. One third is man-made, the rest being formed by four lochs including Loch Ness.

An Act of Parliament in July 1803 authorising the canal engineer Thomas Telford to survey, design and build the waterway. Opening in 1822, at a cost £910,000 employing over 3,000 people. There are 29 locks 4 aquaducts and 10 bridges.

The canal is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, attracting over half a million visitors each year. There are many ways to enjoy the canal, walking or cycling along the tow-paths, or cruising on Hotel Barges.

There is a small Caledonian Canal Visitors Centre at Fort Augustus it is free to enter and has some interesting facts and dispalys on the canal. Worth a visit while you are there.

Today the canal is positively buzzing with vessels, many of them private pleasure boats from all over the world who come to make the voyage through the legendary lochs through which the canal passes.

The most famous section of water that forms part of the Caledonian canal is Loch Ness where you can find several cruise companies offering a variety of boat trips and cabin cruiser hire to choose from if you feel tempted to take to the water.

You could combine boating with walking sections of the Great Glen Way which follows roughly the same route.