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.
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.