Monday, 20 June 2011

Skye to Loch Ness.

110.6 Miles. Now at Loch Ness Caravan Park at Invermoriston.

As we had seen all that there was to see around Staffin and we were not overly impressed with the camp site we contacted the next camp site at Loch Ness to see if we could book an extra night there. Well trying to use the phone was a bit of a problem but we made contact while we were out walking the hillside. An extra night was not a problem so we were up and away by 9.30am this morning.

Loch Garry.Loch Garry.

The return journey was back across much the same roads of course, the only difference was we were able to take the A87 all the way through to Glengarry as the last 10 or so miles were now open again after resealing. It was amazing the change of scenery even though we were on the same road. One particular stretch reminded both of us of the Rimutaka Hill near home in New Zealand but with less bends in it. Once past the deviation we had to take a few days ago the scenery changed once again to a point where no camera could do it justice. As we came over the brow of a hill a whole panorama opened up before us, across Loch Garry and up and down the whole Glen. To say it was spectacular doesn’t really do it justice. There was a couple of layby’s where we stopped to take some photo’s but with out a really expensive camera with a wide angle lens my camera doesn’t do the scene justice.

The other reason for travelling this route was not only because we missed it before but Dot wanted to re-visit Fort Augustus ( I wonder why?) Well we were not disappointed because as we arrived the locks were a mass of bright orange Hi-viz life jackets. Quickly parking up we went back to the locks to find 9 cruisers, 1 private and 8 hire boats, in the top lock about to be worked down the flight. As soon as these 9 were into the second lock a large yacht was bought into the top lock to follow the cruisers down.

Nine cruisers in one lock going down the Caledonian canal flight at Fort Augustus.Nine cruisers in one lock going down the Caledonian Canal flight at Fort Augustus.

A lone yacht going down the Caledonian canal flight at Fort Augustus.A lone yacht going down the Caledonian Canal flight.

Just enough room to open the gates.Just enough room to open the gates.

While they were all working down the flight we went and had a look at the Loch ness trip boats below the bottom lock. There was the Royal Scot which does hourly cruises, two IRB’s (Inflatable Rigid Boats) that take about 12 at a time for a high speed trip around the lock. To take these boats you have to get suited up in lined waterproof clothing supplied by the trip boat company ‘cos you’re gonna get wet’. While all this was happening another cruise ship, and that is the only way to describe it arrived. It was the MV Lord of the Glens, a magnificent ship. They moored this ship at the entrance channel to the locks and discharged passengers. Overhearing a tour guide talking to these passengers they were told that they had time to visit all the tourist shops and they had to be at the top lock by 5.30pm where their ship would pick them up. From this we could only conjecture that the Lord of the Glens was also going to traverse the flight.

The hourly trip boat around Loch Ness.The hourly trip boat around Loch Ness.

Before this though the lock keepers had to open the road bridge across the entrance to the bottom lock to let two of the cruisers out due to their high superstructures. The bridge was then closed for about half an hour while they got some more cruisers and another yacht organised. Once this was done it was all go, close the road, open the bridge, one yacht out and one back in, passing each other just outside the lock entrance. Just before this took place one of the IRB’s set off with another load of passengers closely followed by the Royal Scot. We have never seen such activity even on the Thames locks. To make matters worse a cruiser had jumped the gun when the first cruiser left the lock and pulled off the lock moorings before being told to do so by the lock keeper. Of course his spot was quickly taken by another boat and he had nowhere to go. He kept pottering backwards and forwards getting in everybody's way and being yelled at by boat skippers and the lock keeper. Oh what fun!

Road bridge opening to allow boat out of the lock.Road bridge opening to allow boat out of the lock.

The lone yacht finally clears the locks.The lone yacht finally clears the locks.

One out, two in. The next run of boats going up the flight.One out, two in. The next run of boats going up the flight.

Unfortunately it was going to be too late for us to watch the Lord of the Glens go through because that would have been a magnificent sight, This ship is canal and sea capable 45m long 10.5m wide and just over 1000 tonnes. Carrying 54 passenger and 18 crew from Inverness through Loch Ness and Loch Lochy to Fort William, Oban, Isle of Skye to Portree and Gairloch in the Highlands. What a cruise that would be.

IMG_3766Lord of the Glens.  Cruising from Inverness to Isle of Mull via the Caledonian Canal.

Now at the Loch Ness Caravan Park we are literally parked within feet of the edge of Loch Ness. You wouldn’t want to suffer a brake failure here.

You can't get much closer than this to Loch Ness.You can't get much closer than this to Loch Ness.

A total of 3255 miles, since 5 March 2011


nb Chance said...

Hi Dot and Derek, Really enjoying your travels around Scotland we did the same over two months this time last year in our motorhome, and stayed at the campsite you are in by Loch Ness! Loving the photos keep them coming its like doing it all over again!! Thanks again Doug and James

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Doug and James
Yes its a beautiful country and we are enjoying every minute of it. Almost as much as we did on the canals in our narrowboat.

Tom and Jan said...

Just don't get eaten in the night by something large coming out of the loch!

Derek and Dot said...

To Tom and Jan
Don;t worry the door will be locked. :-)