Friday, 1 September 2017

Western Caledonian Canal and Beyond

Hi everyone,
Zen Again is safely berthed in Dunstaffnage Marina near Oban.  This will be Zen Again's winter home this year.

On Tuesday we motored from Laggan Locks to Banavie on the Caledonian Canal.  This involved travelling down Loch Lochy and then through several miles of canal.  Both were very scenic.  Banavie is at the top of Neptune's Staircase - a flight of eight locks down to sea level.  The weather was showery with occasional sunny spells.  While the rain was very chilly the sun was very warm indeed.  And the colours ashore when the sun came out were amazing.

View to NE from Laggan Locks
Laggan Lock
Loch Lochy 
Loch Lochy
At the southern end of Loch Lochy lies Gairlochy which is a very pretty spot.  We had to wait there for an hour while the lock keeper was on her lunch break.

Waiting for the lock at Gairlochy
While waiting Ocean Spirit of Moray arrived too.  We had been near them in Inverness Marina and it was good to see them again.  They are owned by the public school (ie private!) Gordonstoun but had a set of students from a state school aboard for a sailing adventure.

Company in Gairlochy Lock
The canal between Gairlochy and Banavie
Ben Nevis to port 
Alongside at top of Neptune's Staircase
On Wednesday morning we were up and in the lock at 0800 to begin the 90 minute descent.  Going down in locks is much easier since the water leaves the chamber which is more or less turbulence-free.
Corpach Sea Lock
We returned to sea water at Corpach Sea Lock and headed down Loch Linnhe.  Perhaps we should have sailed but the prospect of two full days to prepare Zen Again for the winter took precedence.
Loch Linnhe
Approaching Corran Narrows
A few "light showers"
We arrived at Dunstaffnage Marina at 1600.  Although our holiday has felt like a delivery at times we really enjoyed the 3 day sail to Inverness and the Caledonian Canal was fantastic.

We spent today preparing Zen Again for the winter.  More on that in tomorrow's post!

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