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Shipping Canal: Caledonian Canal

Posted in Shipping Canal - 19 Jul 2021, 3:47 PM

Situated in Scotland, the Caledonian Canal links the island’s east coast at Inverness to the west coast at Corpach. The canal’s end channel on the west coast is closely located to Fort William, making it a strategic site for a cruise tour. It has been around since the early nineteenth century while serving as Scotland’s waterway and tourist destination at the same time.

History and Features of Caledonian Canal

After 19 years of construction, the Caledonian Canal was opened for the first time in 1822. It was designed and built by a Scottish engineer named Thomas Telford with the aim of creating a shortcut between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. However, over the years, this canal has expanded its function as a tourist attraction that provides cruising trips and offers various interesting activities.

Most man-made canals are provided by a water supply system from feeder channels and reservoirs. However, the case is a bit different with this Scottish canal. Unlike most types of waterways, the lake reservoirs supporting the Caledonian are actually a part of the canal itself. It doesn’t only supply water, but also controls the canal’s water levels.

Every lock and bridge of this canal is guarded by kind, welcoming keepers that also serve as helpful guides for any vessel passing through. At present, the canal is mostly used by tour cruises. Meanwhile, other vessels such as fishing boats, seagoing yachts, and naval vessels are occasionally seen during some particular seasons.

Points of Interest

There are many ways to enjoy the Caledonian Canal without actually going on a cruise along the waterway. One of the most preferable means to appreciate the canal’s wonderful sites is by visiting a number of viewing posts. They are also regarded as the points of interest that shouldn’t be missed by any visitor. Here are some recommended options to consider:

  • Fort William, a stunning viewpoint with an observation post to see how the waterway processes every vessel that passes through it. This fort also features the Neptune’s Staircase, a historical site near Corpach.
  • Fort Augustus, an excellent area to observe the canal’s operation while taking a stroll down the Caledonian Heritage Centre.
  • Muirtown Locks, a practical and accessible point located at western parts of Inverness. In addition to seeing how the lock system works, this viewpoint offers a short cruise from the canal basin to the north side.

Activities to Do

Cruising is obviously the main activity to do in the canal. However, it is not the only fun activity that this canal offers. In addition to some spectacular cruising tours, visitors can enjoy some other leisure interests, such as paddling, fishing, even booking a particular resort to live on water for several days.

Other interesting activities are also offered outside the water. Cycling, walking, and running are among the most popular preferences to marvel at the trail along the canal. Caledonian Canal Center, as well as the Heritage sites, are also worth considering.

Being a crucial waterway in Scotland, Caledonian Canal is not only used as a water channel for oceangoing vessels. A number of interesting activities and attraction sites also play an important role in making this canal a must-visit waterway on the land of kilts of bagpipes.

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