Scotland 2017 - Day 14

Caledonian Canal Cruising - Kytra Lock to Laggan Lock. Where is Ophelia?


The weather forecast had been getting progressively worse. The Met Office now issued a severe weather warning for western and Northern UK including Scotland. Cyclone Ophelia was on its way. Caley Cruisers rang to tell us and to advise that we should not venture out onto Loch Lochy until the cyclone had passed through. They agreed with our suggestion we stop at Laggan Loch for the afternoon and night. It was fortunate that we did. Ophelia first hit Ireland with the worst storm since 1966 and then came on to Scotland. The eye passed over us so we were spared the worst, but it was a night of howling winds, heavy rain and the boat bumping against the mooring jetty.

Kytra Lock to Cullochy Lock

The morning was grey and damp. While we were having breakfast, one of the large tourist vessels motored up and into the lock. It looked so large that we thought nothing else would fit, so after it had left I talked to the lock keeper about getting into the lock. "Pity you didn't tell me earlier" was her reply. So she emptied the lock and in we went. This lock has a large height lift, so it was a long way up to throw the rope to her. I gave it a heave and hit her, which she was not pleased about. (I wasn't getting on very well with this lock keeper...) But she closed the lock and up we went. She came back to tell us that Caley had rung to instruct that all Caley cruisers were to keep off Loch Lochy due to the storm. We motored on to Cullochy Lock and then through the Abercalder Swing Bridge on the A82, which we had driven over a few days earlier.

Our cruiser tied up below Kytra Lock in the morning gloom.
The formidable gates of Kytra Lock.
The gates opened and this tourist vessel motored past us.
After Kytra we soon arrived at Cullochy Lock.
The deckhand all kitted out with lifevest and gloves.
A procession of cruisers.
Waiting for the Abercalder Swing Bridge to open for us, and to close the A82.
The start of Loch Oich.

Loch Oich & Laggan Avenue

Loch Oich is a small and narrow loch. The water level was raised and the loch enlarged as part of the building of the Caledonian Canal. Navigation can be difficult and we carefully followed the lines of red and green buoys. A submerged boat, long abandoned beside Invergarry Castle, is a reminder to the unwary. Near the end of the Loch lies the Well of the Seven Heads and across the A82 highway is the Lochside Larder. We moored here and I visited the shop, returning with hot toasted sandwiches and fresh coffee.

Shortly we reached the Laggan Swing Bridge and the Great Glen Water Park. Around the corner was the picturesque Laggan Avenue and then the Laggan Lock. Here we found a berth with water and power and tied up firmly to await Cylone Ophelia. It was now about 1430 and the arrival of Ophelia had been delayed. She was busy devastating ireland. By evening the wind had picked up, the rain was heavy and that was the pattern for the night. The worst of the cyclone hit at about 0230 and by morning it was calm but still heavy overcast. I took the opportunity in the afternoon to walk back along the towpath and attempt photos of the canal and forest.

Being followed into Loch Oich.
Oops. Did not follow the navigation instructions.
Approaching the Laggan Swing Bridge, also on the A82.
Through the bridge adn it begins to close.
Closed and peace is restored on the A82.
Around the bend and into Laggan Avenue and its glorious Autumn colours.
Brown water from the peat.
We motored very slowly down the avenue. The view was stunning.
Finally we arrived at Laggan Lock and tied up to weather the approaching storm.
Heater on the hollsides.

The forest at Laggan Lock

While we waited for Cylone Ophelia to arrive I took the opportunity in the afternoon to walk back along the towpath and attempt photos of the canal and forest.

Pay per ride bicycles.
Here we are, all tied up waiting.
Looking north from the lock gates.
We were not alone, hiding from the storm.
Scenes from the towpath on the easern side of the canal.
The spirit of Scotland took shelter in the lock chamber...
Along with a piper to calm their nerves (or get on their nerves if you don't like the bagpipes).


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Last updated: 03/01/2018