Staff exploration trip on the Caledonian Canal – Jon Lewis

On the 9th April Myself, Charlie, Jonny Jones and Steve Smith from Brynllywarch canoed the Caledonian Canal from Fort William to Inverness. A total distance of 76miles.

The trip started at Fort William where Charlie can be seen with the Kerry news with Ben Nevis in the background still covered in snow. We entered the canal above Neptune’s staircase in Banavie and canoed towards Gailochy. The weather was poor with cold winds and showers throughout the day, but luckily the wind was behind us so we made good progress. Lunch at Gailochy before we entered the first of the Loch’s Loch Lochochy, again the wind was in our favour and we reached our first campsite at Glas dhoire a wild camp with a fire pit composting toilets. (so not that wild). The following morning we headed to Fort Augustus via the canal and then into Loch Oich. here the wind had really picked up and we were able to use our small sails, Charlie and Jonny were in control of the sails, myself and Steve just had to steer. We made good progress but again with heavier showers the campsite at Fort Augustus and a pub supper was starting to look really appealing.  After a good feed and sleep, we awoke to better weather and the chance of a good days paddling. We arrived at the entrance to Loch Ness a very intimidating stretch of water, certainly, it made the canoes look very small. The wind was blowing well and the sails were working, we moved very quickly across the loch. We stopped for lunch and warmed ourselves up before getting back aboard for the final push. Things started to get a little more interesting as the wind got up and the gentle waves turned into 3 to 4-foot waves. We decided to beach as soon as we could to take stock of the situation. Once beached we waited for a while to allow the wind to die down, in our favour it did. We climbed back into the boats and made our way into the canal for the last leg to Inverness. By 7.30pm our day was done an epic day and a fantastic trip. I would certainly recommend the trip to anyone interested, the scenery was magic and at times the environment was testing, but thanks to the team effort we all arrived back safely. All that remains now is to plan the next adventure.



Jon Lewis

Charlie with Ben Nevis in the background

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