2 August 2019 – Calendonian Canal – Day 1

Start position
Corpach Basin
Finish position
Laggan Lochs
‘Lord of the Glens’ leaves early, raising the possibility of an earlier start, but it’s mid-morning before the loch gates open again. There are 5 of us in the lock. 2 other sailing yachts, a small motor boat and an Australian motorsailer trawler. The first double lock is straightforward, then we motor along to ‘Neptune’s Staircase’, a staircase of 8 locks. We’re the entertainment for crowds of onlookers.
We’ve ended up at the front, which makes life exciting. The water flow is dramatic and our bow-line has to run right to the top of the lock. After a struggle in the second lock, we add a breast line straight in off the midships cleat. This holds us snug to the wall and takes the heat out of the battle. S walks the lines up ashore between the locks. The lock keepers also slow the flow down, so it takes us nearly 3hrs to get up. Then we’re on to a relaxing cruise along the canal, in convoy. Moy Bridge is the next marker. It’s manually operated, opening in 2 halves, but is open as we approach.
At Garelochy, we wait with a French yacht that has been with us all morning. S cleans the debris from the lock walls off the side of the boat. Then we’re through and into Loch Lochy, which is spectacular. There’s plenty of room to sail, but once again about 5kts of wind on the nose, so we motor straight up in the afternoon sun. We stop at the transit pontoon at Laggan Locks and head for the floating barge ‘Eagle’ for supper outside. We watch swallows chasing midges, both high and low, but the midge problem remains small from our point of view.
Our original plan was to sail up Loch Ness to Drumnadrochit, to meet Laurna, before turning back. It’s clear now that we don’t quite have time to do that and get home for other commitments. So we update our plans to target a day sail on Loch Ness and arrange to meet Laurna in Fort Augustus.
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