Situated in the picturesque village of Banavie, just four miles north of Fort William, is overlooked by the magnificent Ben Nevis and is home to the impressive Neptune’s Staircase.

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 in Scotland. The system was originally hand-powered but has been converted to hydraulic operation. 

A perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the country, it also has plenty to offer anyone looking for more adventure. Part of the Great Glen Way route, it has plenty of walking and cycling paths.

Further information

Opening Hours

Public access is available at all times




Accessible access
Bicycle rental
Charging point
Dog friendly
Dog walking
Engineering marvel
Family friendly
Family friendly path
Food and drink
No camping
Photo point
Point of interest
Water equipment rental

Useful information

Train Spotting 

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.


Dogs are allowed but should be kept on a lead and under control at all times.