Cutting clean through Scotland’s Great Glen, the Caledonian Canal is one of the great waterways of the world. Perfect for canoeing and kayaking near Inverness. Stretching from Inverness to Fort William, this unique waterway offers spectacular scenery and many exciting adventures. The mountain scenery of the Scottish Highlands may be a surprising setting for a canal. But the Great Glen is an ancient fault line through which the Caledonian Canal runs almost directly from south west to north-east. You could claim (with tongue-in-cheek) that north-west of the Caledonian Canal is an island!
The Caledonian Canal, 60 miles in total (with 22 miles being man-made) was 18 years in the making. It was one of the engineering marvels of the age when construction was completed in 1822. Today it is still used by large commercial boats but mostly it is leisure and tourist boats using the canal.
The Great Glen Canoe Trail follows the 60 miles of the Caledonian Canal, through the Great Glen and the entire length of Loch Ness. Paddle through some of the most dramatic and inspiring sceneries in the whole of Scotland. From Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east. Generally, it takes 3 to 5 days to canoe or kayak the trail depending on a number of factors like fitness, type of craft and group size. The canoe trail allows you to paddle from coast to coast through the natural lochs – Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. All connected by the 22 miles of man-made Caledonian Canal, linking each of the lochs.
You should register with Scottish Canals in advance of your trip, so they can keep you informed of important safety information and advice. Register your trip.
For guided trips and canoe and kayak hire, book with local companies Explore Highland and In Your Element.