Magnificent scenery and wildlife, relaxing sailing, great attractions and more than a few surprises – it might be known as ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut,’ but the Crinan Canal offers far more than just easier access to the sailing grounds of the Western Isles.
Meandering through the ancient coastal kingdom known as ‘Dalriada‘ in the heart of Argyll and Bute, the nine-mile-long canal links Ardrishaig at the Firth of Clyde with the picturesque village of Crinan and the spectacular scenery of Scotland’s west coast.
Once a thriving freight artery, the 200-year waterway now welcomes thousands of yachts on the water and tourists on the banks each year, keen to explore the many stories and rich heritage of the canal and ancient Dalriada, undertake an adventure on the miles of forest walks and cycle routes, or sample the incredible seafood and atmosphere in some of the area’s many pubs and restaurants.
The Crinan also offers the chance to see some incredible wildlife. Visitors can catch a glimpse of deer and rare red squirrels in the surrounding pine forests, watch osprey soar through the skies above the waterway and look out for dolphins frolicking in the sea at Crinan. There’s even the chance to spot a pine marten, one of Scotland’s rarest mammals.