We are offering a late addition to our 2015 calendar with two dates in October for a new cruise. Our Caledonian Canal Explorer is a one-way 6-night cruise departing in October with two dates. The first cruise departs from Oban on Saturday October 3rd, arriving in Inverness on the morning of Friday October 9th. The second cruise departs from Inverness on Saturday October 10th, arriving in Oban on the morning of Friday October 16th. The cruise is at an introductory 10% discount at only £1125.00 per person, a saving of £125.00. Get in touch with us to discuss your travel options as the boat does not return to the departure point
The Caledonian Canal Explorer is an epic journey, through the very heart of Scotland from west coast to east coast, full of breathtaking contrasts in scenery, heritage and wildlife. The walking opportunities are excellent, with our expert wildlife guide, Vivi, ensuring guests get the most out of the landscape, heritage, wildlife and environment. Chef Steve will provide a delicious menu based on local speciality produce with some great seasonal flavours. Skipper Rob and Bosun Sarah will identify the highlights of the itinerary and consult guests for their preferences both onboard and onshore. Guests have the option of bringing their own bikes on this cruise and, for any fishing fanatics, there is the hope of catching salmon, brown or sea trout or even pike!
There are many highlights in the itinerary for the Caledonian Canal Explorer. As with all our cruises, the itinerary is flexible and the Skipper will consult guests on the options available.
One of the delights of the itinerary is to experience the contrasts between the open water of sea lochs and the sheltered waters of the canal and the inland lochs that make up the 60 mile stretch of the Caledonian Canal. The magnificent sea loch of Loch Linnhe provides the opportunity of seeing maritime wildlife such as dolphins, seals and white-tailed eagles. Anchoring at Port Ramsey on the Isle of Lismore gives stunning views to the west and north east to the towering mass of Ben Nevis and a chance to explore a small west coast island.
Cruising past the quintessential Scottish castle, Castle Stalker which stands on its tidal island in Loch Laich, off Loch Linnhe is always a stunning sight. Going ashore at Appin to the Wildlife Hub Visitor Centre, is an excellent place to learn all about the Argyll Wildlife with the option for a walk at the nearby Loch Laich Nature Reserve.
Loch Linnhe shrinks to just 200 yards wide at the Corran Narrows, where a ferry has provided access to the remote parts of Ardnamurchan for hundreds of years. Just beyond the town of Fort Augustus, Loch Linnhe ends at Corpach where the 60 mile stretch of the Caledonian Canal, begins. Corpach has magnificent views of Ben Nevis and is a popular anchorage for the night, with the option of a stroll along the canal towpath to have a look at Neptune’s Staircase.
The Caledonian Canal is comprised of three inland lochs, linked by 22 miles of built canal. The ability to change level is provided by 29 locks and the most famous of these is Neptune’s Staircase, a true engineering marvel with its unique ladder of 8 locks. The first stretch of canal is very scenic, with forests lining the route and the mountains dominating in the distance. There is now the chance of seeing a different type of wildlife including red squirrels and red deer with a choice of birdlife from woodland birds to waterfowl and raptors.
At the little village of Gairlochy, the canal reaches the first of three inland lochs, Loch Lochy, a beautiful and sheltered cruise with stunning views. At Laggan, Loch Lochy ends and another stretch of canal begins, after passing through Laggan Locks. The canal takes you to the second fresh water loch, Loch Oich, surrounded by forest and mountain scenery before entering the canal once more and going through the Locks at Cullochy and Kytra.
This part of the canal ends at Fort Augustus, a lively village with lots to do including the Clansman Centre, the Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre. A highlight is to enjoy a drink in one of the canal-side inns and watching boats descending the 5 impressive locks in the centre of the village.
The locks at Fort Augustus take the vessel down to the level of Loch Ness, our final inland loch which is so large it can feel like the open sea! Cruising the length of Loch Ness allows time to soak in the beauty and scenery, keeping an eye out for monsters! It is also a good area for spotting for golden eagles and ospreys overhead. There is the option of a stunning walk on the south side of the Loch at Falls of Foyers.
A visit to Urquhart Castle, dramatically situated on the banks of Loch Ness is a must. It is an impressive anchorage for the night and a breathtaking backdrop for dinner with the chance to go ashore to explore the castle and visitor centre.
Approaching the end of Loch Ness we reach the scenic Muirtown Basin, near Inverness. Guests can go ashore to walk to the very end of the canal where it enters the sea at Clachnaharry, having then travelled the entire length of the Caledonian Canal.