Boating on the Caledonian Canal

Explore the Caledonian Canal by boat

Bring your own boat, hire a cruiser or charter a yacht for a canal holiday, take a day-trip on Loch Ness, or stay on a hotel boat or holiday barge. Take in the spectacular Scottish scenery and amazing wildlife.

Boating on the Caledonian Canal is unlike any other canal boat experience in the UK. With short stretches of man-made canal linking the scenic Scottish lochs, this is a stunning location for a canal boat holiday or any kind of cruising. Watch the Great Glen Ways Video and you will be persuaded!

The canal is popular with sailors who want to avoid the lengthy passage around Cape Wrath en route to and from the west coast cruising grounds. It is ideal for yachts and cruisers; in fact, sailing across Loch Ness is more akin to a short sea crossing than a canal journey! Hire a boat for a day or a week and discover this stunning stretch of water. Find out more about Caledonian Boat Hire.

Boaters should allow a minimum of two and a half days to transit the canal. But why rush? Take some time sailing around Loch Ness, or explore the wonderful waterside scenery. See what the Great Glen has to offer.

Skipper's Guide

The Skipper's Guide for the Caledonian Canal is the complete reference guide to boating on this unique canal.

Check our Canal Works & Boater's Updates page for details of current works along the Caledonian Canal.

Get a Licence

Find out how much your journey will cost by using our online price calculator or download our Transit & Short Term Licence Fees to find out more about transiting the canal. Licences are available at either of the Sea Locks or at Seaport Marina.

Operating Hours 2013-2014

Winter 2013: Mon 4 Nov - Sun 23 Mar
9.00am - 4.00pm Mon - Fri
Spring 2014: Mon 24 Mar - Sun 25 May
8.30am - 5.30pm 7 days
Summer 2014: Mon 26 May - Sun 31 Aug
8.00am - 6.00pm 7 days
Autumn 2014: Mon 1 Sept - Sun 2 Nov
8.30am - 5.30pm 7 days
Winter 2014: Mon 3 Nov - tbc 9.00am - 4.00pm Mon - Fri

NB. Following the Winter Closure, for the week commencing Monday 17th March, the canal will operate on Winter hours (9.00am - 4.00pm, Mon - Fri)

Please note that due to reduced staffing numbers, we are unable to guarantee assistance to single-handed boaters, so please ensure you have sufficient crew onboard to handle your ropes. Single-handed boaters are likely to experience delays.

VHF

Vessels wishing to enter Clachnaharry Sea Lock should radio the Sea Lock Keeper on VHF Channel 74 or 16 as they pass under the Kessock Bridge. Radio Corpach Sea Lock as the Sea Lock comes in to sight. This allows the Lock Keepers to advise of any boat movements and prepare for your arrival.

Long Term Moorings

There are waiting lists for all long-term moorings along the canal. To find out more about staying on the canal long-term, take a look at our fees and conditions. If you would like to join our waiting list, download our long-term mooring pack. Here's a quick guide to prices and facilities at our long-term moorings.

We also have winter moorings available along the Caledonian Canal.

Planning to transit the canal and leave your boat in Inverness for up to a month?

Call us on 01463 725500 for our great value transit & berth rates!

Visiting Boats Survey

Once you've visited us, why not fill out our quick online visiting boats survey, and let us know about your experiences on the canal?

We really appreciate feedback to help us improve the services we provide.

check clean dry

We need your help - Non Native Species

'CHECK-CLEAN DRY' - 3 simple steps of a campaign to encourage all water users to help stop the spread of invasive aquatic species. Invasive species including zebra mussel, New Zealand Pigmyweed and Killer shrimp can affect fish and other wildlife, restrict navigation, clog up propellers and are costly to manage.

Download the official poster

Assisted Passage on the Crinan Canal

Although popular, the scheme proved to be unsustainable, both financially and in the manpower required, and has been withdrawn this season.

We're reviewing the service yearly and we'd like to hear our boaters' thoughts on the scheme - even if you've never used it!

Complete our short survey...

Clachnaharry boats

Top tips

  • Do you supply water points?
    Yes but you must bring your own hose as we do not supply these.
  • How much will it cost?
    Prices depend on the size of your boat and how long you want to stay. Use the boat transit ready reckoner on our boating pages to check prices.
  • How long does it take to go through the canal?
    You should allow a minimum of 2 1/2 days. During the busy season this could be longer. Our shortest licence is 8 days so gives you plenty of time to explore everything the Canal and the Great Glen have to offer. You will find the operating times on the boating pages.
  • Is there a speed limit on the canal?
    The maximum speed allowed on the canal sections is 5 knots. But remember that excess speed can damage canal banks and other water users. There is no restriction on the lochs.
  • Do I need to bring anything for locking?
    Basic equipment needed for locking: 3 or 4 good quality ropes (15m length recommended) fenders to protect topsides - 3 or 4 per side should be enough lifejackets should available, and preferably worn, for all crew
  • Can I visit the Caledonian Canal on my Canal & River Trust licence?
    We’re sorry but there are no reciprocal licence agreements between The Canal and River Trust and Scottish Canals.
blog comments powered by Disqus