Caledonian Canal Day 4: Fort Augustus to Laggan


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One of the most beautiful sections of the Caledonian Canal is near Laggan, where the trees grow right up to the water’s edge and extend over the water. The fall colours made the scene even more impressive. We liked this section of the canal so much that we later walked from Laggan all the way up to the bridge on one side of the waterway and back again on the other side.

On our fourth day in the Caledonian Canal, we travelled 9.5 miles from Fort Augustus to Laggan, through four locks and two bridges. This was also our first experience with locking through with a charter boat along the canal—we would have been hit twice if we hadn’t fended them off. Charter boats frequently have first-time captains at the wheel, so this happens all the time. That’s another major difference between the Crinan and the Caledonian canals: two charter boat companies operate within the Caledonian Canal with fleets of several dozen boats each, whereas the Crinan Canal has none.

Below are trip highlights from October 17th in the Caledonian Canal, Scotland. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps

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Wind

The barometer has remained low overnight and we got some gusty winds, but nothing serious. We expect the winds to last into this morning then settle down by the afternoon as Ophelia passes northeast of the UK.
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Fall Colours

Beautiful fall colors in the trees just south of Fort Augustus.
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Traffic

The fishing vessel Nova Spero of Stornoway, heading northbound, got the first lock of the day at Kytra lock. We waited behind the fishing vessel Islander to pass through southbound once Nova Spero had cleared the lock.
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Kytra Lock

Locking through with the fishing vessel Islander in front and a charter boat beside us.
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Islander

James chatting with the crew of Islander as we lock through.
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High Water

The water in the canal is so high right now that the sidewalk is flooded. That’s the River Oich visible below.
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Fending Off

The charter boat we’d locked through with at Kytra Lock came in after us, and would have hit us twice if we hadn’t fended them off each time. James’ hands are just visible at the bottom left of the picture pushing them away. Charter boats frequently have first-time captains at the wheel, so this happens all the time.
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Cullochy Lock

Rising in Cullochy Loch with fishing vessel Islander and the charter boat behind.
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Canal View

The view behind us into the Caledonian Canal from near the top of Cullochy Loch.
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Lock Keeper

Chatting with the lock keeper at Cullochy Loch as we ascend.
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Bridge of Oich

Passing through the Bridge of Oich behind the fishing vessel Islander.
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Invergarry Castle

Invergarry Castle, the seat of the Chiefs of the Clan MacDonnell, was built in the 1600s.
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Wreck

Partially submerged boat just south of Invergarry Castle.
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Loch Oich

Fabulous scenery in Loch Oich.
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Laggan Bridge

Passing through the Laggan Swing Bridge with fishing vessel Islander visible in the distance.
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Woods

South of the Laggan Bridge, we passed through one of the most beautiful sections of the Caledonian Canal where the trees grow right up to the water’s edge and extend over the water. The fall colours made the scene even more impressive. We liked this section of the canal so much that we later walked from Laggan all the way up to the bridge on one side of the waterway and back again on the other side.
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Waterfall

Spectacular waterfall where Allt an Lagain empties into the Caledonian Canal.
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Laggan Lock

Approaching the Laggan Lock, our fourth and final lock for the day, with Loch Lochy visible beyond.
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Macavity

The motor sailer Macavity preparing to enter the Laggan Lock northbound after we’ve passed through.
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View from Dock

The canal staff had a one-boat berth waiting for us on the other side of Laggan Lock. This is the amazing view from there.
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Loch Lochy

We dropped the tender in and ran down Loch Lochy to have lunch at the Letterfinlay Lodge.
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Fawlty Towers

For some reason, we were both reminded of Fawlty Towers as we entered the Letterfinlay Lodge. And the man at the desk sounded just like Basil Fawlty when he looked surprised to see us and said “Sorry! Lunch is off! The cooker’s broken!”. When we mentioned that we’d called earlier and were told they were serving lunch, he said we must have been talking to headquarters. He then offered us a look at the menu to see if there might be anything we wanted that didn’t require the cooker. James asked if they could do burgers. He said “Of course”. “I’m assuming that french fries wouldn’t be possible,” said James. “No, that’s not a problem either”, the man responded. So James asked what on the lunch menu was not available and he said “It looks like it’s mostly there, maybe just some steamed vegetables”. Lunch seemed pretty “on” to us.
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Letterfinlay Lodge

After a bit of an unusual start, we had an excellent meal at the Letterfinlay Lodge with a fabulous view over Loch Lochy. With lunch being “off”, we weren’t surprised to be the only lunch patrons.
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Path

After returning back to Dirona, we walked a path through the woods along the north shore of the canal.
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Stream

We wanted to cross over to the Laggan Bridge to walk back along the other side of the canal, but had trouble finding a dry way across the stream that was just beyond jumping width. We eventually walked a tree branch down to the point where it got thin and jumped to shore from there.
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Bay

Calm bay with the Laggan Bridge visible in the distance. The scenery here sure is beautiful.
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Glen Tarsan

We arrived at Laggan Bridge just as the Glen Tarsan was passing through.
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Footbridge

Jennifer on the footbridge above the waterfall we’d passed earlier.
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At the Wheel

Back in Laggan, the Glen Tarsan had beat us back. Neil White invited us aboard for a visit.
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Visit

James and Neil discussing bank effect in the wheelhouse of the Glen Tarsan.
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Saltire Marine Services

We were the happy recipients of Saltire Marine Services caps from Neil White.
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Berth

Our private berth below the Laggan Lock with a view to Loch Lochy.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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7 comments on “Caledonian Canal Day 4: Fort Augustus to Laggan
  1. Rob Heath says:

    Rick Steins restaurant in Falmouth is very good, and very close to Port Pendennis Marina. If it is on the desert menu try the cheesecake – one of the best deserts I have ever had!!

  2. Paul Wood says:

    Proper belly laughing at the Faulty Towers quip. Brought back memories of the jumbled up words on the hotel name plaque during the opening credits 😀 My old boss was a look-a-likey for Basil Fawlty and the mickey taking was merciless. He took it all in good part though and actually started mimicking him!

  3. We are just south of Dublin having left last night around 11pm on our way to Falmouth so I guessed we missed our window to get to that restaurant you mentioned Gerhard but we appreciate you passing on the recommendation.

    • Paul Brown says:

      Looks like good progress, hopefully the conditions are reasonably calm out there today. A shame you aren’t stopping at the Isles of Scilly, that is one of my favourite sailing destinations in the UK, but I always really enjoy visiting Falmouth as well. There’s a lovely anchorage just underneath Trelissick House should you not want to stay in the marina all the time, wonderful walks along the SW Coast path, and if you fancy a dinghy trip on a sunny day, going all the way up the river to Truro is something we enjoy for some very different scenery. Trago Mills, just outside of Pendennis Port towards town is the sort of old fashioned shop with loads of random little departments that has all the things you cant find anywhere else, always interesting to have a look around!

      • We just arrived and the run in over the last day or so was super nice. The first day out of Dublin was rough with pretty steady 25 kts and the currents kicking things up but overall, we had a good run south given the time of year.

        Thanks for the tip on the tender run up the river. I suspect we’ll end up doing it.

        The Marina here looks great and we’re just about to head in to the Chain Locker for lunch.

  4. Gerhard says:

    Must Go! The fish restaurant above the lock. Was there 10 years ago, hope it exists today.

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