Loch Oich and Loch Lochy
From Fort Augustus there is complete contrast as the canal winds its way between the islets of the shallower Loch Oich. The beautiful countryside round Loch Oich is part of the Aberchalder Estate – check their website for more information about this spectacular area.
There are three mooring pontoons in Loch Oich; the Easternmost one is suitable for a short stay to visit the ruins of Invergarry Castle or the hotel, while the one on the N. shore at the Western end is ideal for a shopping stop at the Well of the Seven Heads store. At the SW corner you can tie up at the Great Glen Water Park, where there is a restaurant and coffee shop.
Leaving Loch Lochy and heading West you pass down the tree-lined stretch of canal known as Laggan Avenue towards Laggan Locks, where West Highland Sailing are based. At the top of Laggan Locks you will pass Eagle, the Inn on the Water. This unique bar and restaurant is our ‘local’ and is well worth a visit.
Descending the short flight of locks we are in beautiful Loch Lochy, with its surrounding mountains reflected majestically in the still water on a calm Summers day.
Leaving Loch Lochy you traverse the last stetch of canal to Banavie at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Whilst at Banavie it is well worth a trip on the incredibly beautiful West Highland Line to Mallaig. Also at Banavie a magnificent flight of eight locks, known as Neptune’s Staircase, lowers seagoing boats some 64 feet to the tidal waters of Loch Linnhe.
Navigation is easy and full of variety as you cross Scotland in company with a fascinating assortment of seagoing vessels. On the great stretches of open water you are never far from sheltered moorings. On the short canal sections there are only ten locks within the normal cruising range, all operated by keepers, the charges for which have been included in your hire terms.