/ Has Anyone Canoed The Caledonian Canal?
Haven't done it, but
gives you loads of info, alternatively:
I should maybe add that since the "Great Glen Canoe Trail" has been established it's much less of a hassle to get canoes in and out, avoid locks, and there are lots of facilities like campsites, toilets and showers. Plenty info online and also a book.
I've done it. Takes about 4 days depending on how much you want to thrash yourself. Fort William to Inverness takes advantage of the prevailing winds in summer and is therefore pretty easy. It's not a hard paddle, bit monotonous at times but rewarding enough.
You'll need a British waterways key to get in and out of the canal. These are about £20 and we got ours from Nevis sports I think.
PM me if you want more info.
It is possible to get 2m waves, but using the same approach to paddling conditions as to winter conditions predicting/avalanche risk i.e watch the weather in advance to get a feel for the preceeding & residual conditions, check the forecast on the day (and how wind strength and direction may vary during the day), and use the good old eye balls when you get there. For the great glen you have no tides to factor in, or residual swell, and preceeding conditions will die off quickly.
Ideally, unless experienced, you'd like a gentle tail wind (< 10 mph). After that decide what conditions you would be able to get back in your boat if you came out, both unaided and aided, the length of time it would take and think about how cold the water is. Near and above these conditions becomes.....pub time, assuming you're not going to get back on the water pie-eyed.
Very doable, good facilities, but you need to be aware that Lochs Ness and Lochy can be very dangerous in windy conditions. There's a reason why Ness is the only inland water with RNLI coverage....
Ask on www.songofthepaddle.co.uk for more info.
Thanks everyone for such positive comments - really appreciated. Suppose I should learn to canoe now...
There's a reason why Ness is the only inland water with RNLI coverage....
I don't think Loch Ness is more or less dangerous than any other large inland body of water e.g. Monar, Morar, Mullardoch, Ericht, Trieg, Awe ect. I suspect the reason it gets a RNLI station is not to do with any additional or special danger (Nessie aside!), but that it is a busy waterway, therefore more likely that incident(s) will occur, and cumulative potential loss of life sufficient to warrant RNLI coverage.
I wouldn't want to go for an unresolved swim in any inland body of water (or sea for that matter), but would rate survival chances screaming down a VHF (or mobile despite thier obvious limitations) and popping flares significantly higher due to reception, more water users and being overlooked on Loch Ness than Mullardoch, or Trieg for example, where you are very much more on your own.
You are right that a mix of small craft, strong winds, cold water and a long(ish) fetch can all combine to elevated risk, and propensity for an incident to occur.
Wild camping all the way.
Always did it before the end of May to reduce the number of wee beasties.
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