Fort Augustus Travel Blog› entry 12 of 17 › view all entries
In our way to Inverness we stopped in Caledonian Canal, that connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William.
It runs some 62 miles (100 kilometres) from northeast to southwest. Only one third of the entire length is man-made, the rest being formed by Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich, and Loch Lochy. These lochs are part of the Great Glen, a geological fault in the Earth's crust. There are 29 locks (including eight at Neptune's Staircase, Banavie), four aqueducts and 10 bridges in the course of the canal.
The canal was designed by engineer Thomas Telford, supported by William Jessop, and was built between 1803 and 1822 at a cost of £840,000. The canal was never a great commercial success because, as originally built, it was too shallow and suffered from poor construction in places. Most traffic still used the sea route. It was not deepened until 1847 (work designed by Telford's associate, James Walker) by which time most ships were too large. Also, Inverness was soon connected to the Lowlands by railway. The canal is now mainly used by pleasure craft. It is maintained and operated by British Waterways, a governmental organisation.