Our Caledonian Canal Explorer is a one-way 6-night cruise departing in October with two dates.  The first cruise departs from Oban, arriving in Inverness seven days later and the second cruise departs from Inverness, arriving in Oban. This epic journey, through the very heart of Scotland from west coast to east coast is full of breathtaking contrasts in scenery, heritage and wildlife. The walking opportunities are excellent with our wildlife guide and the crew ensuring guests get the most out of the landscape, wildlife and environment. Guests have the option of bringing their own bikes on this cruise; read the custom-designed information for cyclists here.

Travel writer, Robin McKelvie's cruised the Caledonain Canal with us on board the Elizabeth G, please read his blog here

Cruise Itinerary

The itinerary for the Caledonian Canal Explorer is very flexible and here are some highlights. These are described from Oban to Inverness, simply reverse for the return trip!

Experience the open water of the magnificent sea loch of Loch Linnhe with the opportunity of seeing dolphins, seals and white-tailed eagles. Anchor at Port Ramsey on the Isle of Lismore with stunning views to the west and north east to the towering mass of Ben Nevis and the opportunity to go ashore to explore.

Cruise past the quintessential Scottish castle, Castle Stalker on its tidal island and go ashore at Appin to the Wildlife Hub Visitor Centre, an excellent place to learn all about the Argyll Wildlife. There is an option for a walk at the nearby Loch Laich Nature Reserve.

Navigating the Corran Narrows, with breathtaking views of the Ben Nevis Mountain Range, enter the 60 mile stretch of the Caledonian Canal, which is a comprised of three inland lochs, 22 miles of built canal and 29 locks. Anchor for the night at Corpach, a lovely spot for an evening stroll along the canal towpath.

Our vessel enters the engineering marvel of Neptune’s Staircase with its unique ladder of 8 locks which takes 90 minutes to rise 500 feet above sea level.  Once through the Staircase, cruise to Gairlochy for the option of a one-way walk along the towpath.

More locks are navigated to reach Loch Lochy, the first of the inland lochs where red deer stags may be heard rutting in the hills.  Loch Lochy, has  spectacular views down the Loch, and a good place to try a spot of fishing for trout or pike! At the far side of the loch we reach a tree lined corridor of canal, with fabulous autumn colours and the chance of spotting red squirrels which leads to the second inland loch, Loch Oich. The South Laggan Fen SSSI is a good place to try and spot Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting as well as identify many rare plants.

We reach Fort Augustus at the start of fabulous Loch Ness for an overnight anchorage. It is a lively village with lots to do including the Clansman Centre, the Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre or to enjoy a drink in one of the canal-side inns to watch the boat coming down the 5 impressive locks in the centre of the village.

The locks at Fort Augustus take the vessel down to the level of Loch Ness, our final inland loch which is so large it can feel like the open sea!  We  cruise the length of Loch Ness to soak in the beauty and scenery, keeping an eye out for monsters! It is also a good area for spotting for Golden Eagles and Ospreys overhead.  There is the option of a stunning walk on the south side of the Loch at Falls of Foyers.

A highlight of the cruise is Urquhart Castle, dramatically situated on the banks of Loch Ness: an impressive anchorage for the night and a breathtaking backdrop for dinner! We go ashore to explore the castle and visitor centre.

Approaching the end of Loch Ness we reach the scenic Muirtown Basin, near Inverness. Guests can go ashore to walk to the very end of the canal where it enters the sea at Clachnaharry, having then travelled the entire length of the Caledonian Canal.

Cruise Dates 2018

DateNightsSpacesPrice p/p VesselBook Online
22 September 201860---Proud SeahorseFully Booked
29 September 2018610 £1,055.00Elizabeth GBook Now
29 September 201862£1,695.00Proud SeahorseBook Now
6 October 201869 £1,055.00Elizabeth GBook Now

Indicates single cabins available (Elizabeth G Only).
Master cabins available (Proud Seahorse Only).

Cruise Dates 2019

DateNightsSpacesPrice p/p VesselBook Online
21 September 2019610 £1,695.00Proud SeahorseBook Now
28 September 2019610 £1,055.00Elizabeth GBook Now
28 September 2019610 £1,695.00Proud SeahorseBook Now
5 October 2019610 £1,055.00Elizabeth GBook Now

Indicates single cabins available (Elizabeth G Only).
Master cabins available (Proud Seahorse Only).

Cruise Map

Reviews

29 September 2017

What can  I say!  Fabulous trip.  Initial welcome from the crew was warm and welcoming which continued throughout the trip.  The food and service was of an excellent standard and served in a warm intimate and informal setting. Each night Ross the chef cooked up a culinary delight and delicious cakes and cookies through out the day with a lovely light lunch in between. The beautiful Seahorse and cabins were spotlessly clean. What a great way to travel seeing stunning scenery and exploring ancient woodland (walks and bike rides are optional) or just relaxing watching the world go by, curled up with a book, cup of coffee (or glass of wine!) on one of their many comfy sofas.  The hot tub at the back of the boat was a huge bonus when it came to the end of a long walk. I would thoroughly recommend this cruise to anyone wishing to relax whilst taking in some of Scotlands finest scenery. 10 out of 10. Well done Emma,Rob and Crew

Denise Whyatt & Ian Cargill

29 September 2017

Thank you all again for making sure we had such a lovely holiday- we hope to travel with you again very soon.  Scenery was , of course, beautiful and all the escorted trips were made even better by the knowledge and enthusiasm of all the crew. Lovely comfortable bed and a brilliant view.  Book it immediately

Kerren & Ken Harris

23 September 2017

High quality!  The information and advice was timely and first class we could not fault it!  The crew were excellent nothing was too much trouble.  Give it a go or you’ll never know what you’re missing.

Roger & Pam Leach

8 October 2016

We enjoyed the whole itinerary very much.  It was relaxed and interesting.  The crew were knowledgeable and happy to answer questions about the areas we cruised and stopped at.

Chris & Diana Poore

8 October 2016

Excellent service from start to finish.  “Do it”

Steve & Linda Hales

1 October 2016

This a beautiful cruise and full of interest, whether you like wildlife, scenery, engineering or all three.  There was plenty of time for on shore excursions.  The crew, as usual, were all great. 

Dennis & Mary Pike

Need extra info?

If you have any enquiries about our cruises or would like an informal chat about your plans, please email using our Contact Us page. If you prefer phone Emma any-time on +44 (0) 75851 51611 or +44 (0)1631 711 986