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Scotland's Canals

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Caledonian Canal

The majestic Caledonian Canal is 96.6km (60 miles) in length of which 35.4km (22 miles) is man made. Stretching from Inverness to Fort William it is one of the great waterways of the world, offering visitors spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife and the world famous Scots hospitality.

Though initially intended to provide a safe transport route for naval frigates during the Napol-eonic wars, the Caledonian Canal did not serve a military function until the First World War.

Nonetheless, the Canal has played a significant role in the development of the Highland economy, fostering trade between East and West, as well as with Germany, Holland and the Scandinavian countries.

The locks were mechanised between 1959-1968 at a cost of £195,000, and more recently the main lock flights have benefited from extensive restoration works. All locks and bridges are operated by British Waterways staff for your convenience.

The majority of traffic is leisure orientated. Besides being the gateway to all that is best in Scottish cruising for yachts visiting from continental Europe, the holidaymaker can charter a yacht or power cruiser and enjoy a holiday "in command".

Hotel barges offer either activity holidays, or a more relaxed cruise. The Caledonian offers excellent marina services for both the visitor and those seeking a cost-effective long term berthing solution. Without doubt you will enjoy Britain's most spectacular and scenic waterway.

Crinan Canal

The stunningly beautiful Crinan Canal was completed in 1801 as an alternative to voyaging around the Mull of Kintyre. It now has a major role for leisure craft as a superb, still water marina base from which to cruise, race or charter high quality yachts.

The Crinan Canal meanders through Kilmartin Glen, an area rich in history and wildlife, where there is just so much to see and do for all the family! Licences are available from overnight to an annual package, which can include lift out during the winter months.

Crinan's customers will not only find quality, serviced marina berths, new toilets and showers but also a very warm welcome from our staff.

The Lowland Canals

The restoration of the Forth & Clyde Canal has required the removal of 33 obstructions, dredging, renovation of old locks, repairing banks and restoring towpaths. The canal is now open providing coast to coast navigation while creating a circular network of canals for those wishing to explore Scotland by sea.

The Union Canal was opened in 2001 and the unique Falkirk Wheel linking the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal was opened to the public in early 2002.

Bowling Marina

Located at Bowling Basin, the western terminus of the Forth & Clyde Canal continues to develop. Located only 30 to 40 minutes drive from Glasgow, Bowling Marina has proved extremely popular as a cost-effective base for yachts and motor cruisers both summer and winter. In particular for wintering ashore, potential customers are strongly advised to book early since over the last two seasons all spaces have sold out!

Shore power units have been installed, and 24hour security is provided. Customers holding long term licences, of 3 months and over may also enjoy visits to the other Scottish canals at no extra charge.

The Boat Safety Scheme
British Waterways Scotland is committed to quality of service and all craft using the canals are required to comply with the Boat Safety Scheme, thus ensuring peace of mind for all users.

For craft on passage - up to 28 days - insurance details to confirm third party cover of £1m will be required. Random inspection for gas and fuel leaks using a portable detector, and of visible electrical systems for signs of heat damage may also be carried out.

Those wishing to berth for longer periods are required to have their vessel examined by an approved British Waterways Examiner or Surveyor.

For more information on Scotland's canals please visit their website »

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