by Dan - January 18th, 2013
Jane and I and Minnie our dog really enjoyed this walk alongside the Caledonian Canal.
We left Mingulay House in Duror and 25 minutes later were driving through Fort William. On the way out of Fort William, at the roundabout we took the Mallaig road (A830). After a mile or so, we turned right (signposted Banavie), then right again in the large car park. Here it is recommended to park in the far corner as this gives easy access to the start of the walk. In our opinion this is a fairly easy canal-side walk it took us approx 1 hour and is a total distance of 4.5km / 2.75miles.
There are many ways to see and enjoy the Caledonian Canal. Walking alongside Neptune’s Staircase is a lovely way to take in this amazing engineering feat. The Caledonian Canal was built to plans produced by Thomas Telford. Construction started in 1803 and opened in 1822. However instead of the canal being 20 feet deep as stated on Telford’s plans the depth was only 14 feet. Many of the large ships of this time could not pass and therefore a second phase of construction occurred between 1844-1847.
Neptune’s Staircase is a flight of eight locks connecting 2 Canals. It will take a boat 90 minutes to travel up the 64 feet to the top.
Approximately 1km into the walk you reach Corpach, here there is the final sea-lock where the canal ends and Loch Linnhe begins. There are also some lock keepers houses and a picnic area, although the day we walked was a bit too cold for eating al fresco. The scenery on this walk is really beautiful, you can see across to Fort William and Ben Nevis. You do have to walk across a railway and a busy road, but this is sign posted well to remind walkers to take care.