The Caledonian Canal

We’d initially expected to pass through the canal in three days, but it’s been so nice we’ve taken six. The scenery has been stunning and we’ve slowed the pace down to the point where it’s felt like we’ve taken a holiday within our holiday.

We’ve had our first guests on board too. Maarten and Olga came all the way from The Netherlands with their two children and joined us in Lossiemouth to help search for our missing mog. Maggie (a friend from my days working in the circus field at the Glastonbury festival) joined us there too and together we all sailed from Lossie to Inverness, and the start of the great Caledonian Canal. There were dolphins galore on the approaches to Inverness, and we were even joined by them in the marina that evening.

The Caledonian Canal crosses Scotland’s Highlands and consists of natural lochs, sections of man made canal and numerous sea locks where the crew must manage lines ashore as the water levels are raised or lowered by the lock keepers.

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We love spending nights at anchor and will take any opportunity to avoid the hassle of marinas. Here we are at anchor in Loch Ness on the second night:

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It’s been great fun having the children on the boat and it seems that they’ve adopted me as the third kid on board. We’ve played silly games, sped around in the dinghy, swam in the lochs and I’ve even taught Ricardo how to play the blues on my guitar.

One evening at anchor the kids were shouting for me to look at something – it turned out to be a man walking naked over his boat. The poor guy has subsequently been christened The Nudie Man  and is now they key character in a blues song all about his adventures in the buff. More embarrassingly for him though, he now gets pointed at and yelled about in Dutch by two very excited children whenever we pass him along the canal; the only words he understands must be ‘bla bla bla Nudie Man bla bla bla‘.

The scenery enroute has been stunning, what follows are a few of our favourite photos from this week (there are more on our Facebook page).

This is Urquhart castle, just next to where we anchored for the night in Loch Ness:

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Taking the kids for a spin in the dinghy:

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Our final lazy night in the canal watching the sun set on Ben Nevis:

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The last of the 29 sea locks, and we made it without so much as a dink:

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There are more images on our Facebook page.

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