Stretching from Fort William to Inverness, the Caledonian Canal is 60 miles long. 22 miles of which are man-made to connect the natural lochs of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, the famous Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. The canal is, even by today’s standards an amazing feat of engineering first opened in 1822. It was constructed to help commercial shipping avoid the treacherous journey around the west coast. Unfortunately by the time the canal was completed many boats under sail (for which the canal was designed) had been replaced by steam ships which were much better able to negotiate the west coast waters than their predecessors, so traffic through the canal never really paid for itself.
Not so today - the canal today is positively buzzing with vessels, many of them private pleasure boats from all over the world who come to make the voyage through the legendary lochs through which the canal passes. The most famous section of water that forms part of the Caledonian Canal is Loch Ness, where you can find several cruise companies offering a variety of boat trips and boating holidays to choose from if you feel tempted to take to the water. You could combine boating with walking sections of the Great Glen Way which follows roughly the same route.