Set in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain, Neptune’s Staircase is a dramatic flight of eight locks on the Caledonian Canal.

Situated in the picturesque village of Banavie, just north of Fort William, this amazing feat of engineering raises the canal by 19m (62ft) over a quarter of a mile of continuous masonry and takes around 90 minutes for a boat to travel up or down the locks. Built by Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822, it is the longest staircase lock flight in Scotland.

It’s an ideal location to enjoy some ‘gongoozling’ the boats as they travel up and down the lock flight, as well as a spot of trainspotting – the West Highland train line crosses the canal at the bottom of Neptune’s Staircase. A number of historic buildings, including some former lock keepers’ cottages now lovingly restored as luxury holiday accommodation, also dot the banks.

The Caledonian Canal is used by countless vessels, from multi-million pound yachts to fishing trawlers and even the odd Viking longboat. Situated on the Great Glen Way, you’ll also often see cyclists, walkers and paddlers enjoying the many appeals of the area and the spectacular views offered by Neptune’s Staircase.


Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie, Fort William, PH33 7NG Scotland

Caledonian Canal

3 miles from Fort William

65 miles from Inverness

111 miles from Glasgow

Access Roads and parking

Good access for majority of vehicle types

c.100 space car park





Wide variety of boats


Ben Nevis

Engineering structure

Historic buildings

Outdoor activities

Water access

West Highland Railway

Wide variety of boats

Local Authority

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