Wednesday, 26 June 2013

We left the Caledonian Canal on Monday with a new crew after four days of concerning ourselves with warps and fenders rather than tides and weather forecasts! Did you know that the Caledonian Canal is 60 miles (statute not nautical) long of which 22 miles are man made canal?

The other 38 miles are fresh water lochs, the two main ones being Loch Lochy (which was the only part of the Canal that we managed to sail) and Loch Ness.

We arrived at the Corpach, at the western end of the canal, late afternoon on 17th June expecting to spend the night in Loch Linnhe but were immediately waved in to the first series of locks.  It was all rather daunting with its rules and regulations and its 'dos' and 'don'ts' but we soon overcame our doubts with the help of the attentive Lock Keepers who, with lively banter, kept us amused as we slowly ascended (and later descended) with anecdotes and history about the Canal and its constant flow of travellers!

There are a total of 29 locks with a big climb at Neptune's Staircase at Banavie, seen here with Loch Linnhe in the background, at the western end...

some more locks (and 10 swing bridges) in the middle.......

... and the descent to Loch Ness at Fort Augustus....

 then on to  Inverness and the Moray Firth in the East.
The weather was rather dull and overcast so we certainly didn't see the Canal and the scenery on offer at its best but this busy water 'highway' is certainly beautifully maintained and geared to look after its visitors whether they be on the water or making the journey beside it.  Many yachts from Scandinavia heading for the West coast or returning home.  We also met two yachts from the USA and the Scottish midge was also in evidence!

Greensleaves joined us at Fort Augustus, at the south eastern end of Loch Ness and sailed (motored actually) with us to Urquhart Castle where we anchored for lunch.

 At Inverness we moored up at the Seaport marina, on the outskirts of Inverness for a couple of days admin in the pouring rain before saying farewell to Rose and welcome aboard to John and Duncan.  
It's been a relaxing few days but Capraia and crew are now champing at the bit to get back on the open sea! 

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