Caledonian Canal cruise in Scotland, via Loch Ness

“Take a seven day small boat cruise on the magnificent Caledonian Canal between Oban and Inverness, with Loch Ness en route.”


Oban | Loch Linnhe | Corpach | Neptune's staircase | Loch Lochy | Loch Oich | Fort Augustus | Loch Ness | Urquhart Castle | Glencoe | Inverness

Description of Caledonian Canal cruise in Scotland, via Loch Ness

The Caledonian Canal is a feat of engineering, slicing Scotland on the diagonal for 97 kilometres between Inverness and Fort William. It includes a complex ‘staircase’ of locks designed by Thomas Telford and connects several freshwater lochs, including Loch Ness, the most famous of them all. Travel along it on a small ship for the best experience. This mode of transport is fantastic for appreciating the tranquillity and majesty of Scotland.

Your charming home for the seven days is a converted traditional wooden fishing vessel. There’s room for four crew and up to 11 guests. On board you’ll be served gourmet food at anchor every evening, and can sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery as it passes. On this route you’ll pass Castle Stalker, Fort Augustus, Urquhart Castle and, dwarfing them all, Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. Hop off at the lochs to take a stroll along the water under the mountains, and look out for wildlife; you may be lucky enough to see otters and red squirrels.

This one-way trip starts either in the traditional town of Oban or the Highland city of Inverness. From Oban cruise past the Island of Lismore and into Loch Linnhe and onto Corpach. Here you’ll enter the Caledonian Canal and move slowly through Neptune’s Staircase before cruising from Gairlochy to Loch Ness. The trip ends at Muirtown Basin, in Inverness. This route runs west to east, but you can also do this trip in reverse, and set out from Inverness instead.

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11 Sep 2021
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18 Sep 2021
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25 Sep 2021
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02 Oct 2021
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09 Oct 2021
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16 Oct 2021
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Our top tip:
Be daring and bring a wetsuit. The lochs at sunset are like glass and very inviting.
Trip type:
Small group, max. 11 passengers.
Solo travellers welcome. Two double cabins are reserved for single travellers at no supplement on every cruise.
Ensuite cabins.
Accommodation, all meals and snacks, wine with dinner, crew.
Not Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Waste: The company rescued and restored two beautiful traditional fishing vessels which would have been destroyed due to decommissioning and gave them a new life introducing people to one of the most pristine and scenic areas of Europe. Exploring Argyll in a group by boat is much better for the environment than travelling by car, and in fact it is much quicker by boat to get to the remote areas. During the conversion of the vessels, sustainable and recycled materials were used as much as possible and even now if repairs are required we take pleasure in finding materials that can be re-used. While on board, everything is recycled and carefully disposed of when on shore. The crew regularly collect rubbish from the water or on the beaches which is disposed of at the next recycling opportunity. Local producers feature highly in our menus, thus reducing food miles and packaging - we often pick up supplies direct from the farm or boat - no packaging required! We encourage our guests to fish and drop lobster pots; mackerel or crab are almost guaranteed but we do get other fish and the occasional lobster which guests will find on their plate at their next meal!

Water is very precious on board because of storage and this reduces overuse for example guests are encouraged to have short showers. We only change guests linen and towels on request to avoid wasting energy on cleaning them unnecessarily

Suppliers: We are very fortunate to have some outstanding food and drink producers and suppliers in Argyll, especially seafood, hill beef and lamb and a range of speciality foods. Our guests love the fact that they are enjoying the local speciality produce and that they often get to actually meet the producers themselves while en-route on their cruise. Many of our food and drink suppliers provide free range and organic produce and we favour such producers. We also used local suppliers to undertake the original conversion of the vessels which was carried out in the local marina. These suppliers continue to work with us to maintain the vessels, from engineering and joinery to making the cushions and throws for the cabins. We also supply local toiletries in the guests ensuites

The Impacts of this Trip

Friends and neighbours: The owners of the company are steeped in the local Argyll community and spread as much of the economic benefit as they can for the guests they bring in. Local Guest Houses and Hotels are recommended by our sales team; local experts are brought in by operations to inform the guests about the wildlife and heritage. Our two purpose-built vessels were built at Ardmaleish Boat Building Co on the Island of Bute, boosting employment in the area on the two occasions we built there. On a recent stopover at the island of Colonsay where opening hours can be erratic, the company phoned ahead to arrange that the attractions at the Pier including a tiny art gallery and micro brewery were open so that guests could buy gifts and meet the locals. Many of our cruises are planned as one-offs to take in a local festival such as a food festival or a highland games, providing a truly authentic experience for our guests. Local attractions benefit, local suppliers benefit, and local businesses benefit from the presence of the company. Some restaurants even ask us to anchor overnight near their establishment as it improves the view!


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