Visit Fort William, Glen Nevis and Ben Nevis in the Outdoor Capital of the UK

The Caledonian Canal

The Caledonian Canal is a major feature and attraction in the landscape of the Fort William area and of course, the Great Glen. A natural geological fault line stretching from Fort William in the south west to Inverness in the north east, it was designed and constructed by Thomas Telford and opened to shipping in 1822. Today the Caledonian Canal is owned and operated by British Waterways.

At Fort William, the southern end of the Great Glen, the Caledonian Canal allows vessels to enter from Loch Linnhe and the Atlantic Ocean, and make passage through the Great Glen by canal lock systems and natural fresh water lochs, including Loch Ness, to Inverness and the North Sea.

Between Corpach, Banavie, Gairlochy, Loch Lochy and Loch Oich, the canal provides an opportunity to explore its lock gates and banks. The Canal towpath also forms part of the Great Glen Way a walking or cycle route. Watching commercial shipping and pleasure craft navigate the lock gates at Corpach Basin, Neptune's Staircase at Banavie and Gairlochy near Spean Bridge makes for an interesting day out in Lochaber.

All along the Canal route you can enjoy wonderful views of Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries, spot birds and wildlife and generally enjoy the peaceful nature of the Canal Way. If you would like to stay in a place near the canal, but still only a short drive to Fort William, this page lists accommodation businesses in our Lochaber Directory who are within walking distance of the canal.

There is a cycle route along one of the Canal banks and the Great Glen Way takes walkers along the Canalside for the first section of the journey through the Great Glen.

One local holiday operator - Caledonian Discovery, operate the vessel "Fingal" which will take you on a week's cruise either up to Inverness, or  down to Fort William. They also provide walking, cycling and watersports along the way.

Local businesses from the Lochaber Directory, and who are based or located near the Canal are shown below for your convenience and interest.

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  • Glenfinnan House Hotel & Restaurant
    Glenfinnan House, Glenfinnan, PH37 4LT
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    Glenfinnan House Hotel stands just around the bay from the tall Bonnie Prince Charlie monument on Loch Shiel, with its lawn rolling down to the beach. The famous Glenfinnan viaduct railway bridge, used as a scene in several Harry Potter films, is a 10-minute walk away through the Glenfinnan Estate where...

  • Tigh na Drochaid Self Catering
    Glen Nevis, Fort William, PH33 6PF
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    We are now offering autumn and winter short self catering breaks. This modern, semi-detached apartment is located near the foot of Ben Nevis and at the entrance to Glen Nevis in the heart of Britain's outdoor capital. Attached to the owners' property it is within walking distance of Fort William's town...

  • Myrtlebank Guesthouse - Fort William accommodation
    Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RQ
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    This Victorian villa has superb views across Loch Linnhe yet is only 5 minutes walk from Fort William's shops, restaurants and bars. Our Fort William guesthouse is maintained to a very high standard offering an excellent choice of rooms from standard to large, ensuite rooms with loch or garden views, walk...

  • Stanton Villa Bed and Breakfast
    Camus Na Ha, Corpach, Fort William, PH33 7NN
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    Stanton Villa Bed and Breakfast is a friendly family run Bed and Breakfast, just 6 miles from Fort William, Outdoor Capital of the UK. We are overlooking the beautiful Locheil where you may see seals, otters and a variety of other wildlife.Facilities:Stanton Villa Bed and Breakfast offers one double and one...

  • Springburn Self Catering Chalets
    Stronaba, Spean Bridge, PH34 4DX
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    Located a short distance from the world-famous Commando Monument above the village of Spean Bridge, our modern and comfortable self-catering chalets are a great place to stay for a holiday. Our chalets have every modern convenience. They sleep up to 4 persons, have lots of private parking and their own patio...

  • Inverlochy Castle Hotel & Restaurant
    Torlundy, Fort William, PH33 6SN
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    Stay at one of the best Scottish Castle Hotels in the Highlands.  Nestling in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle sits amidst some of Scotland's finest scenery. Inverlochy was built in 1863 by the first Lord Abinger, 2 miles from the site of the original 13th century fortress....

  • Ashburn House
    Ashburn House, Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RQ
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    Ashburn Guest House is a beautiful Victorian villa located near the shores of Loch Linnhe and only 10 minutes walk to the town centre. We have 6 individually-decorated bedrooms, all en-suite - 1 single and 5 doubles providing a very high standard of bed and breakfast accommodation. One double room on...

  • Airds Hotel & Restaurant - Luxury Country House Hotel
    The Airds Hotel and Restaurant, Port Appin, Appin, PA38 4DF
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    The Airds Hotel & Restaurant is a luxury country house hotel located in the stunning hamlet of Port Appin, situated on the shore of Loch Linnhe with the Morvern mountains behind, near Oban, on the West Coast of Scotland.  This luxury hotel has one of the best reputations in Scotland for...

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