Scotland 2017 - Day 18

Caledonian Canal Cruising - Urquhart Bay, Loch Ness and back to the Caley Cruiser marina


. This was our last day of living and cruising on our own floating motel. The boat had been a comfortable home for a week, a little tight in some spaces but well appointed. It was easy to drive and steer, although with a shallow draught and no keel it tended to wander if you did not concentrate on steering. The speed limit on the canal section was 6 mph (10 km/h) and we could speed up to about 8-9 mph (12 km/h) on the lochs. We mostly chose to travel more slowly as we had plenty of time and could take in the scenery. We travelled the remainder of Lock Ness to the appropriately named Lochend and then looked out for the red and green buoys that marked the channel. That took us into Loch Doufour and on to Dochgarroch Lock. Here we had to wait until the lock keeper had finished his lunch at 1400 before he opened the gates and in we went. This was our last lock. Then we approached the Tomnahurick Swing Bridge. It was just before 3pm so the keeper waited a while before opening the bridge, cutting off all traffic on the A82. Before long we were back at Caley Cruisers and reversing out boat into its berth. They topped up the diesel tank - 95 litres, 2 litres short of their stated "average" of 97 litres for the Eriskay class of boat. We were able to stay on the boat overnight, ready to depart Inverness in the morning.

Was it worth the cost and time? Absolutely!! There is no other way to see all of the lochs in the Great Glen, to take your time and to do it all at your own pace and choosing.

Loch Ness in the sunshine

Our last morning and we awoke to bright sunshine and scattered cloud. How often does that happen! We were not in a hurry so had a leisurely breakfast and watched the ducks swimming around the marina. Mid-morning we departed and motored across to Urquhart Castle, which looked so different in the sun. Then we turned north-east and travelled slowly along the Loch Ness shoreline. We passed the Clansman Hotel where we had dropped off the half-drowned canoests and then on to Lochend, into the canal, through Lochdarrock Lock, under the Tomnahurrick Swing Bridge and back to Caley Cruisers.

Where's our breakfast?
Early tour boat in a pool of sun at Urquhart Castle.
The marina in sunshine.
Urquhart Castle on its headland.
Sunshine marhing across the farmland.
The Clansman full of tourists at the Castle jetty.
A like-minded local.
Our last glimpse of the Castle.
The Clansmen Hotel - so different in the sunshine.
Lochend - at the northern end of the loch.
The narrow entrance into Loch Dochfour and the start of the canal.
The weir separating the canal from The Ness River - "Danger, keep away" was written all over our map.
Dochgarroch Lock again.
Waiting for the lock keeper to finish his lunch.
Looking back at our last lock.
These impatient sods passed us as we were entering the lock!.
Tied up once again at Caley Cruisers marina.
Inside the cruiser - bedrooms forward and left, bathroom and toilet on right.
In the main cabin, the kitchen.
Operator console on left.


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Last updated: 08/02/2018