Discover the Cairngorms National Park

The spectacular Cairngorms National Park is easy to reach from Inverness. You can travel to Aviemore on the west side of the park by train or car in around 40 minutes. This is the largest National Park in Scotland and the UK and there is so much to do here! Walking and cycling, watersports and outdoor activities, family attractions, historic landmarks and so much more.

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Walk or cycle

Lots of paths and trails to explore in an exquisite part of the world

Cairngorms Walks and Cycle Routes

Walking and cycling are very popular activities in the Cairngorms National Park. The towns and villages across the park have several paths and trails, which are ideal for walkers and cyclists. Abundant wildlife, rich history and magnificent views are aplenty, with many walking and biking trails to choose from. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can take on one of the rugged Cairngorms Hill Tracks, climb a Munro, or venture on a long-distance route such as The Speyside Way or Deeside Way.

Outdoor Activities in The Cairngorms

The Cairngorms is the place to go for outdoor activities in Scotland. It has two excellent watersports centres at Loch Insh and Loch Morlich. Here, you can enjoy fishing, sailing, swimming, rafting, windsurfing and much more. Along with the Cairngorm Mountain activity centre, which offers snowsports, adventure play and guided walks. Other popular outdoor activities in the Cairngorms include dog sledding and bungee jumping. There’s everything from family adventure parks to extreme sports for thrill-seekers.

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Stunning views

Snowcapped mountains, glistening lochs, moorland and so much more!

Cairngorms Scenery and Wildlife

The ranges of the Cairngorms National Park offer some of the most stunning views in the world. Snow-topped mountains, rugged hills, glistening lochs, crystal clear rivers, heather-clad moorlands and ancient forests make up this beautiful and diverse Scottish landscape.

And within this landscape live a multitude of wild trees, plants, animals and insects. Home to creatures such as the red squirrel, osprey, wildcat, golden eagle, badger, red and roe deer and pine marten. So a visit to the Cairngorms is a truly magical experience for wildlife lovers!

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Cycle the Caledonia Way

The Caledonia Way is a cycle route that runs from Campbeltown to Inverness, along 235 miles of challenging terrain. It follows the Kintyre Peninsula and the Great Glen Way, passing Loch Ness, Ben Nevis and also many Scottish landmarks and historical sites.

The route begins at Campbeltown, on the magnificent Kintyre Peninsula. It passes through many Scottish towns and villages, including Tarbert, Ardrishaig, Ford, Oban, Dunbeg, Connel, Benderloch, Duror, Dalnatrat, Appin, Ballachullish, Corran, Fort William, Gairlochy, Abercalder, Fort Augustus, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores. Ending in the city of Inverness, the beautiful capital of the Highlands.

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Walk or cycle this route

A spectacular 235 mile long route

Walk or Cycle the Caledonia Way

The Caledonia Way is Route 78 of the National Cycle Network. This is a series of on-road cycling and walking routes, connecting all major cities and towns. The sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, created them to encourage active travel across the UK. The National Cycle Network is free to use, but you can sponsor a mile if you want to support the charity.

The route is 235 miles long, so it would take around 24 hours to cycle the whole journey. And probably about 72 hours to walk it. However, it’s designed so you can stop off at various points along the way. Or, just do part of the tour. It’s mostly on-road with some traffic-free sections.

National Cycle Network Route 78

You can find the full route on the Sustrans website, split into three sections:

Please note there are two gaps in this route, due to unavoidable constraints. You’ll find details of these in the Oban to Fort William section above.

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Famous sites

Biking or hiking take in the spectacular scenery

Explore Scotland on the Caledonia Way

So, whether you’re biking or hiking, you’ll find many glorious paths along the Caledonia Way. With breath-taking scenery, famous sites and challenging terrain, it’s one of the best ways to explore Scotland.

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Caledonian Canal Walks: Dochgarroch and Clachnaharry

The Caledonian Canal isn’t just a fantastic feat of engineering, it’s also a great place for short walks in Scotland.

The Dochgarroch Loop is one of the most popular circular routes. The walk starts and ends at Tomnahurich Bridge in Inverness, Scotland. Suitable for all abilities, you can walk, run or cycle the 7.5 mile canal paths.\

Or, you can walk in the opposite direction towards Clachnaharry. This is one of the popular Caledonian Canal walks, taking you to Caley Marina. Where you’ll spot boats of all sizes. Including the ‘Lord of the Glens’, the largest boat to sail on the Caledonian Canal. You could even stop off at Merkinch Nature Reserve or head for Clachnaharry Lock for some breath-taking photo opportunities. The whole walk is just under 5 miles and will take about 1.5 hours. But you can take a shortcut and cross the Canal at Muirtown swing bridge, if you’re in a bit of a hurry.

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Begin your adventure

A great towpath to enjoy a scenic stroll

The Dochgarroch Loop

 Tomnahurich Bridge towards Dochgarroch Lock.

Your walk starts at the swing bridge leading towards Dochgarroch Lock. Begin your adventure on the towpath after taking advantage of free parking at the nearby rugby pitches. Look out for the original bridge keeper’s house, today used as a holiday home.

There’s plenty to see on this Caledonian Canal walk, whatever you’re into. There’s always lots of activity happening on the water, as well as birds and other small wildlife to spot. As you stroll along the towpath, you’ll see the River Ness on your left and the canal on your right. It’s around four miles to Dochgarroch.

Walking in Scotland is a great activity for all ages, so pack a picnic and bring the kids with you on a sunny afternoon! Once you reach Dochgarroch, you can watch the boats at the locks, relax and have lunch in the picnic area. When it’s time to head back, just cross over the lock gates. The path on the other side is level and a great spot for cycling. You can rent bikes for both children and adults at a number of shops in the city centre.

Clachnaharry Route

Tomnahurich Bridge to Clachnaharry Sea Locks

From Tomnahurich Bridge you can also go in the opposite direction along the Canal all the way to the sea lock at Clachnaharry, where the boats that have come through the canal go out to sea. Start the walk on the same side of the canal as the old bridge keeper’s house and walk along the towpath towards Muirtown locks – the path is level and suitable for walkers of all abilities as well as cyclists.

There is lots to see along the way – the towpath takes you past Caley Marina, Muirtown locks, Muirtown swing bridge and Muirtown basin. You are guaranteed to see boats of all shapes and sizes moored at Caley Marina and Muirtown basin, from small sailing boats to barges and the largest vessel to sail the Caledonian Canal, the “Lord of the Glens”. Before you reach the sea lock you will have to cross a railway line, so be very careful! After Muirtown basin you will see a waymarker to “Merkinch Nature Reserve” – this is well worth a visit, but we will leave it until another time!

At Clachnaharry sea lock you have reached the very end of the Caledonian Canal, where boats can sail out into the Moray Firth and ultimately the North Sea. This is a very picturesque spot, don’t forget your camera/phone!

Walk across the lock gates to return to Tomnahurich on the opposite side of the Canal. As you walk along Muirtown basin, keep an eye out on your right for the famous Titanic model!

As you pass Caley Marina on your way back, have a look at the lovely cabin cruisers at “Caley Cruisers” – you can hire them for a long weekend or longer to sail along the Caledonian Canal as far as Banavie near Fort William, a great way of discovering the whole of the famous Canal! If you’re not feeling brave enough to skipper your own boat just yet, Jacobite offer short trips from Tomnahurich Bridge, the start/finish point of your walk.

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Reelig Glen Highland Walks

Reelig Glen is an ancient forest, known locally as Fairy Glen. This old woodland by the Moniack River historically belonged to the Fraser family, until the Forestry Commission bought it in 1949. In the 19th century, James Baillie Fraser planted many of the trees here. It is now a popular walking area, with two waymarked trails. And these walks are ideal for spotting red squirrels in the Highlands, pine martins, birdlife and many other fantastic creatures.

The glen is famous for its grove of Douglas firs. And four of the tallest trees in Britain grow there .. a Douglas fir, Norway spruce, larch and lime tree. All measuring higher than 45m!

It is often called Fairy Glen, due to its secluded setting with magical glades and atmospheric waters.

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Ancient trees

The tallest tree in Britain at over 200 feet

Tall Trees Trail and Upper Reelig Trail

Both walks start from the Forestry Commission car park at Moniack Burn.

The glen’s woodland is a mixture of old conifer and broadleaved trees, but its real glory is, of course, its Douglas Firs. The Tall Trees Trail takes you past these ancient trees, well over 100 years old and standing to magnificent heights. Explore this beautiful route and search for “Dughall Mor” (Big Douglas). Measured the tallest tree in Britain in 2000, at over 200 feet (64 metres). The route is 1.7 km and takes around 45 minutes to complete.

Walk through the woodland above the glen on the Upper Reelig Trail. This is a demanding walk with long steep slopes and some uneven rocky steps. It offers a fairly wide but uneven surface, with sections of exposed tree roots and mud. Proper walking wear is advised. The route is 1.9 km and takes around 1 hour to complete.

How To Get To Reelig Glen

Reelig Glen is to the west of Inverness, around a 20-minute drive via the A862. Visit Forestry and Land Scotland website for driving instructions and further information.

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Explore Glen Affric and Strathglass

Glen Affric is a magnificent glen and national nature reserve, located within the Strathglass valley in the Scottish Highlands. Ancient forests of Caledonian pinewood, heather moorland, sparkling lochs and towering mountains make up its stunning landscapes. The glen is known as the most beautiful in Scotland and is popular for walking, climbing and mountain biking.

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Explore Glen Affric

An array of spectacular sites to behold in this magical area

Visiting Glen Affric

A single-track road from Cannich village is the only public route into Glen Affric, with car parks at Dog Falls, Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin and River Affric. There is plenty of holiday accommodation in Cannich, including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering cottages and a caravan park and campsite. There is a local pub, village shop and post office. Tomich, Beauly and Struy are also popular places to stay nearby.

 

Dog Falls

The first car park you’ll come to in Glen Affric is Dog Falls. A series of waterfalls, so-called because they resemble the shape of a dog’s leg. There are three walking trails here with wonderful views.

 Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin

This is a great picnic spot with car parking, looking out to Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain. Although there are no waymarked routes, there are some smaller paths, which will take you down to the loch.

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So much to see

Tumbling rivers and cascading waterfalls - a site to behold

River Affric

At the end of the public road, River Affric is a great stopping point. There are two walking trails and you can also walk around Loch Affric or go up into the mountains  … if you’re looking for more adventure! This is a good place for wildlife spotting, home to creatures like golden eagles and red deer.

Plodda Falls

You can access Plodda Falls from the nearby village of Tomich. The car park is sign-posted from there. This is the highest waterfall in the area and there is an amazing viewing platform at the top. You’ll find two walking trails with waymarks here.

Cycling at Glen Affric

There are many different biking trails around Glen Affric and the Strathglass area. Cycling and mountain biking guide.

Affric Kintail Way

This is a cross-country walking and cycling route, which starts in Drumnadrochit and ends in Morvich, passing through The Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. The Affric Kintail Way is for experienced walkers and bikers who enjoy a challenge.

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Follow the Affric Kintail Way

The Affric Kintail Way stretches from Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness to Morvich on Loch Duich. A challenging trail, recommended for experienced walkers and cyclists. This long-distance route is 44 miles long and passes through forest tracks, roads and some quite rough terrain, reaching an ascent of over 6000 feet. Because of its wild and remote landscapes, it’s important to be prepared. So bring a map, compass, torch, good footwear and appropriate clothing.

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Walk or Cycle the Affric Kintail Way

The trail is split into four sections, as detailed below.

Section One: Drumnadrochit to Cannich Village

Length: 22 km
Walk time: 6 hours

Section One of the trail begins in Drumnadrochit, home of the legendary Loch Ness Monster, and takes you to Cannich Village at the southern end of Strathglass.

You’ll find full instructions on Section One of the Affric Kintai; Way on the trail website.

Section Two: Cannich Village to River Affric

Length: 20 km
Walk time: 6 hours

Section Two follows a forest track, taking you to a car park on the public road up Glen Affric.

You’ll find full instructions on Section Two of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.

 

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Stunning scenery

A remote and spectacular route that leaves you in awe of Scotland's beauty

Section Three: River Affric to Alltbeithe

Length: 14 km
Walk time: 5 hours

Section Three brings you through stunning scenery to the remote Alltbeithe in Glen Affric.

You’ll find full instructions on Section Three of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.

Section Four: Alltbeithe to Morvich

Length: 16 km
Walk time: 5 hours

Section Four brings you to the end of the route at Morvich in Kintail, on Loch Duich.

You’ll find full instructions on Section Four of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.

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Scotland’s Most Remote Youth Hostel

Passing through Alltbeithe, you have the option to stay at Glen Affric Youth Hostel, known as Scotland’s most remote youth hostel. This is a former stalking bothy and due to its unique location, you can only get there on foot or mountain bike. Only open during the summer months and advanced booking is required.

 Continue your travels

Combine this trail with the Great Glen Way and extend your journey to Inverness or Fort William.

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Travel the Great Glen Way

The long distance walking trail, the Great Glen Way, is a challenging route through some of the most dramatic scenery in Scotland. 73 miles/117 km in length, it follows the entire length of the Great Glen from Fort William in the south west to Inverness in the north east. (You can also walk from Inverness to Fort William in the other direction, of course!). There are many spectacular views to enjoy along the way, with some awesome panoramas on the Loch Ness section of the walk. There are also lots of historic and natural heritage sites and information. The route is suitable for all levels of walker and takes up to 7 days to complete. A must do hill walk, Meall Fuar-mhonaidh a short diversion from the trail just south of Drumnadrochit. Highly recommended for the spectacular coast-to-coast views from the top!

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Great Glen Way Route

The Great Glen Way is 117 km in length, running from Fort William to Inverness.

Walk or Cycle The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is 117 km in length, running from Fort William to Inverness. The route is part of the Loch Ness 360° Trail, so you can continue on at Inverness around the south side of Loch Ness, completing a full loop of the loch. Below, the Great Glen Way is split into six sections. You can set yourself the challenge of walking the entire trail. Or, you can choose any section and walk it at your own pace. Prefer to cycle? Why not hire bikes for the trail, see Ticket to Ride.

Section One: Fort William to Gairlochy

Length: 17 km
Walk time: 4 hours

Section One of the trail begins in Fort William and take you to the tiny village of Gairlochy.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Fort William to Gairlochy on the Great Glen Way website.

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Gairlochy to Laggan Locks

Explore this stretch between Gairlochy and Laggan Locks

Section Two: Gairlochy to Laggan Locks

Length: 19 km
Walk time: 5 hours

Section Two of the trail goes on to Laggan beside the River Spey.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Gairlochy to Laggan Locks on the Great Glen Way website.

Section Three: Laggan Locks to Fort Augustus

Length: 17 km
Walk time: 4 hours

Section Three takes you to the popular town of Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Laggan Locks to Fort Augustus on the Great Glen Way website.

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Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Continue your spectacular journey in section four of the Great Glen Way

Section Four: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Length: 13 km
Walk time: 2.5 hours

Section Four starts at Fort Augustus and ends in Invermoriston.

You’ll find full instructions of how to walk from Fort Augustus to Invermoriston on the Great Glen Way website.

Section Five: Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Length: 23 km
Walk time: 4.5 hours

Section Five has a low route or high route option, taking you to the village of Drumnadrochit, home of Nessie.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit on the Great Glen Way website.

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Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Head to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness, on this stretch.

Section Six: Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Length: 32 km
Walk time: 9 hours

Section Six brings you to the end of the Great Glen Way at Inverness, capital of the Highlands. This longer part can be split into two at Abriachan.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Drumnadrochit to Inverness on the Great Glen Way website.

The journey continues …

The Great Glen Way connects up with the South Loch Ness Trail at Inverness and Fort Augustus, creating a loop around the whole of Loch Ness. If you’d like to continue your route around the south side of the loch, please see the Loch Ness 360° Trail website. This epic journey takes around 6 days to complete or 3 days to cycle.

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Discover The South Loch Ness Trail

Meet the wild, unspoilt and uninterrupted side of Loch Ness. This trail forms part of the circular route around Loch Ness, the Loch Ness 360° Trail, connecting to the Great Glen Way. The South Loch Ness Trail meanders its way along the south side of Loch Ness on a mixture of minor roads, forest tracks and purpose-built trail. The 58 km trail starts in Fort Augustus and passes through Whitebridge, The Falls of Foyers, Inverfarigaig, Dores and eventually Torbreck near Inverness.

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South Loch Ness Trail Route

Walk, mountain bike, run or ride on this beautiful trail

Walk or Cycle the South Loch Ness Trail

Walk, mountain bike, run or ride on this beautiful trail and take in the many points of interest. Including Suidhe Viewpoint and the Caledonian Canal in Fort Augustus. It has what every long-distance trail should have – spectacular views, historical interest, peace and quiet and places along the route to stop, rest and relax. The route is split into three sections. You can set yourself the challenge of walking the entire trail over three days. Or, you can choose any section, for shorter hiking trails in Scotland. You can also cycle it on mountain bike. The choice is yours!

Section One: Fort Augustus to Foyers

Length: 25 km
Walk time: 6 hours

Section One of the trail begins at Fort Augustus and takes you to Foyers, through moorland, forest and open spaces.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Fort Augustus to Foyers on the WalkHighlands website.

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Foyers to Dores

Spectacular views to behold

Section Two: Foyers to Dores

Length: 22 km
Walk time: 6 hours

Section Two continues on to Dores, and takes in spectacular views from the Fair Haired Lad’s Pass.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Foyers to Dores on the WalkHighlands website.

Section Three: Dores to Torbreck

Length: 17 km
Walk time: 4 hours

Section Three is the final stage, taking you back to Torbreck, with the option to continue on to Inverness.

You’ll find full instructions on how to walk from Dores to Torbreck on the WalkHighlands website.

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Keep on exploring

The South Loch Ness Trail connects up with the Great Glen Way

The journey continues …

The South Loch Ness Trail connects up with the Great Glen Way at Inverness and Fort Augustus, creating a loop around the whole of Loch Ness. This longer route is called the Loch Ness 360° Trail. An epic journey, which takes around 6 days to complete or 3 days to cycle.

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Explore the Loch Ness 360° Trail

This stunning walking and cycling trail combines the South Loch Ness Trail with the Great Glen Way, to create a circular route around Scotland’s most famous loch. The route starts in Inverness and then passes through Aldourie, Dores, Foyers, Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit and many more beautiful and fascinating places around Loch Ness. Whether you walk, run or cycle the trail. Whether you choose to do the whole loop or a few sections of it. This is one of the best ways to see Loch Ness in all its glory!

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The LN360° Route Guide

A long-distance Scottish walking and cycling route

Walking or Cycling the LN360°

The Loch Ness 360° is a long-distance trail, which is split into six sections. So, you can walk the whole route, section by section. However, you may choose just one or two sections to explore. Sections 1 to 3 follow the Great Glen Way, while sections 4 to 6 follow the South Loch Ness Trail. Please see below for all six sections of the route. We recommend walking one section per day, or cycling two sections per day.

Sections 1-3 (Great Glen Way)

The first three sections of the trail follow the route of the Great Glen Way, starting in Inverness.

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Continuing the journey

Continue along the Loch Ness 360° Trail in Scotland

Sections 4-6 (South Loch Ness Trail)

The route continues along the South Loch Ness Trail, ending up back up in Inverness.

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Walk, cycle or sail the Caledonian Canal

Cutting clean through Scotland’s Great Glen and connecting Inverness to Fort William, the Caledonian Canal is one of the great waterways of the world. The Caledonian Canal offers visitors spectacular scenery. With many exciting opportunities to experience this unique waterway on foot, by bike or by boat. People return each year to enjoy Scottish holidays on this dramatic canal. Boating holidays here are particularly popular on the Caledonian Canal. As the canal opens up into Loch Ness, where boaters can sail the waters of this vast Scottish loch. Who knows, whilst sailing Loch Ness you might even find the Loch Ness Monster!

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Running through the Great Glen

Magnificent scenery in the Highlands of Scotland

The Great Glen

The stunning mountain scenery of the Scottish Highlands offers a surprising setting for a canal. The Great Glen is an ancient fault line through which the Caledonian Canal runs. It follows this Scottish glen almost directly from the south west to the north east. This stunning towpath also connects the Great Glen Way with the South Loch Ness Trail. Creating the epic 80-mile Loch Ness 360° Trail. The Great Glen is so vast, you could almost claim that all land north-west of it is an island!

Caledonian Canal History

Stretching from Fort William to Inverness, the Caledonian Canal is 60 miles long. 22 miles of which are man-made. Connecting the natural lochs of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, the famous Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. The canal is, even by today’s standards an amazing feat of engineering. First opened in 1822, it was constructed to help commercial shipping avoid the treacherous journey around the west coast. Unfortunately, by the time the canal was completed, many boats under sail had been replaced by steamships. Which were much better able to negotiate the west coast waters than their predecessors. So traffic through the canal never really paid for itself. Today, however, the canal is full of life with walkers, cyclists, leisure boaters and holidaymakers.

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Enjoying the Caledonian Canal

A bustling waterway to visit and enjoy in Scotland

The Caledonian Canal today

This Scottish waterway is always busy with boats of all sizes. 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 of course Loch Ness! The canal joins Loch Ness at the lovely Scottish village of Fort Augustus. Here you can find one of several cruise companies offering a variety of boat trips and boating holidays to choose from if you feel tempted to take to the water. You can also combine boating with walking sections of the Great Glen Way. This famous trail follows roughly the same route as the canal.

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