A brief history of the Caledonian Canal
The Caledonian Canal is a major attraction in the Scottish Highlands, with over half a million visitors each year. It is one of the most popular attractions in the area with cyclists, hikers and barge cruises.
Enjoy a fantastic Caledonian Canal holiday when you stay at The Lovat. We’re conveniently located in Fort Augustus, at the southern tip of Loch Ness – part of the many lochs that form the 62-mile long canal.
Book your stay at The Lovat online or call us on 01456 490000.
It measures 62 miles (100 kilometres) long from north-east to south-west. Only one third of the entire length is man-made, the rest being formed by Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich, and Loch Lochy. These lochs are part of the Great Glen, a geological fault in the Earth’s crust.
There are 29 locks (including eight at Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie), four aqueducts and 10 bridges in the course of the canal.
The first survey for the canal was carried out in 1773, but work was only completed in 1847.
Although built for commercial purposes, the Caledonian Canal became more successful as a tourist attraction. Its popularity persisted even after the arrival of the railways in the Highlands.
By 1990, the canal was in need of restoration, and repairs were estimated to cost £60 million. Between 1995 and 2005, a complex refurbishment was carried out.
Today, the canal is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and attracts over half a million visitors each year.
Also, visit West Highland Sailing for information on boating holidays and cruises along the Caledonian Canal.