Caledonian Canal

1773

The canal was conceived to provide safe passage for shipping including the British Royal Navy, avoiding the dangerous route through the Pentland Firth and around Cape Wrath. The construction of the canal also provided employment after the Highland Clearances. The route was first surveyed by James Watt in 1773

Caledonian Canal

1803

Act of Parliament was passed authorising the construction of the canal. Thomas Telford was asked to survey and build the canal with the help of William Jessop. The work was expected to take 7 years to complete at a cost of £474,000

Caledonian Canal

1815

Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Waterloo and the perceived threat to British Naval shipping was gone

Caledonian Canal

1822

The 22 mile canal with its 29 locks was open. It had taken 12 years to build at a cost of £910,000

Caledonian Canal

1843-1849

Defects in the construction material resulted in a partial collapse of the locks at Corpach and the canal bank at Cullochy. The canal was closed and the defects addressed by James Walker; an associate of Telford

Caledonian Canal

1873

Queen Victoria took a trip along the canal

Caledonian Canal

1914-1918

Shipping increased during WWI as vessels tried to avoid the German Navy patrolling of the Northern coasts of Scotland

Caledonian Canal

1920

Ownership of the canal was transferred to the Ministry of Transport

Caledonian Canal

1930s

Paddle steamers like the Glengarry and Gondolier, operate busy passenger services along the Great Glen

Caledonian Canal

1960s

The canal is mechanised replacing manpowered capstans with hydraulics to operate locks and bridges

Caledonian Canal

1962

Ownership of canal transferred to the newly created British Waterways

Caledonian Canal

1995

Major restoration works are undertaken for the next 10 years

Caledonian Canal

2005

Canal reopens

Caledonian Canal

21st century

The Caledonian Canal is now used for commerce and leisure, attracting visitors from all over the world, both on and off the water