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.”

Highlights

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.

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
12 Oct 2019
£2030
excluding flights
2 spaces left
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19 Oct 2019
£2030
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4 spaces left
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10 Oct 2020
£2030
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6 spaces left
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24 Apr 2021
£2030
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7 spaces left
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01 May 2021
£2260
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8 spaces left
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11 Sep 2021
£2260
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5 spaces left
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18 Sep 2021
£2260
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25 Sep 2021
£2260
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02 Oct 2021
£2030
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09 Oct 2021
£2030
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16 Oct 2021
£2030
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
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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.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Two double cabins are reserved for single travellers at no supplement on every cruise.
Accomm:
Ensuite cabins.
Included:
Accommodation, all meals and snacks, wine with dinner, crew.
Vouchers
Not Accepted

Responsible tourism

Caledonian Canal cruise in Scotland, via Loch Ness

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

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

Community

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!

A fair deal: We employ five full time people all the year round, eight part time people all the year round and up to 30 seasonal crew for the vessels. Seasonality is a problem for us as well as some of the seasonal workers and we can lose good people because they look for a permanent job. We therefore have recently tried to find ways of employing people all the year round. We opened one of our vessels as a restaurant off-season to provide all year round employment for one of our chefs. One of our skippers does engineering and boat maintenance for us during the off season. We provide training for all staff, identified in the annual appraisal to ensure they are able to fulfill the job role; our crews in particular have a high degree of autonomy and responsibility when they are at sea with our guests. When we first started the company we had two crews, one for each boat with 1.5 rest days between each cruise. This did not provide sufficient recover time so we introduced a third crew and we now have a system of two weeks on and one week off to ensure our crews are well rested and can do their job well. With the two new vessels we operate a four weeks on and two weeks off rota with three crews working in rotation to ensure crew satisfaction.

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