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Old 07 March 2021, 16:00   #1
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Holiday at Fort Augustus

We are going to Scotland in May, (so long as they will let us in)
Staying at Fort Augustus, at the end of the locks in a cottage.
The River Oich is above the cottage and the canal is below.

l was wondering if we should take our SIB, l know Loch Ness is not ideal but could we launch on the canal at Fort Augustus (after the locks obviously) and go up the canal to the next loch?
l assume the river Oich which appears to run parallel is not suitable.

Are we allowed to do that, and is there anywhere to launch a SIB above the locks in Fort Augustus?

lf not we won't bother with the boat, it just looks like it could make for some good fun boating.
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Old 08 March 2021, 10:39   #2
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l was wondering if we should take our SIB, l know Loch Ness is not ideal but could we launch on the canal at Fort Augustus (after the locks obviously) and go up the canal to the next loch?
why is L. Ness not ideal? I've had fun in small boats there.
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l assume the river Oich which appears to run parallel is not suitable.
from memory too fast flowing and rocky for a sib

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Are we allowed to do that, and is there anywhere to launch a SIB above the locks in Fort Augustus?
to use the canal sections you will need to pay Scottish Canals. IIRC you can only do this in Fortwilliam and Inverness. You don't need to pay to use just the lochs. I've never had a reason to launch a sib in the canal but suspect if you are sensible you can wheel it in - then add the engine at one of the pontoons.

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lf not we won't bother with the boat, it just looks like it could make for some good fun boating.
you could get day trips to the sea - either Loch Linnhe (or the Loch that runs West from Ft William - Loch Eil?) or a longer day over to look for Dolphins in the Dornoch firth is the weather is good.
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Old 08 March 2021, 12:27   #3
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If you sneeked your boat it above the lock ladder at Fort Augustus it's not far up the canal to the next lock, a single one, at Kytra so you'd then need to sneek past that lock too. Probably not worth the effort. However, you could drive to Loch Oich and there is a slip in the car park at the south end and I've seen small boats at the north end so you may be able to put in there. There is a pontoon at the north end above the lock.

Loch Oich is not particularly long but it's interesting for a small boat so you could easily while away a few hours there. It's also the highest part of the canal system so locks at both ends go downwards from there. Just thought you might like to know that.
The south end of Loch Oich joins the canal by going under the road bridge, the clearance at usual summer levels is a couple of meters so you could nip through there and motor down to Lagan locks. It's actually a nice length of tree lined, secluded water. If your boat can be lifted by hand you could then lift out and portage past the lock and enter Loch Lochy, one remote side and one road side. The other end of Loch Lochy is pontoons at Gairlochy.
You can freely use the loch sections of the canal so you'd only be a bit cheeky travelling from Loch Oich down to Lagan locks. Once you were under the bridge and out of site no-one would challenge you.

Loch Ness could be good fun too but some of it is very steep sided. The wind is generally from the SW so it's often sheltered at the Fort Augustus end. If the breeze is brisk, the waves build considerably towards the north end.
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Old 09 March 2021, 04:15   #4
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That's really good information, thank you for the replies.

We'll take the boat and launch at Loch Oich.
Great idea about the boat trips as well, l think we will go on at least one of those.

Some years ago l enquired on here about taking a SIB on Loch Ness and got the replies that it wasn't ideal due to being a bit choppy/windy (2.85m boat)

But we may give that a go as well, if the weather is good.
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Old 09 March 2021, 06:38   #5
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Some years ago l enquired on here about taking a SIB on Loch Ness and got the replies that it wasn't ideal due to being a bit choppy/windy (2.85m boat)
It depends on the weather - there are days when even a boat twice your size would be wet, choppy and unpleasant, and there are days when its flat calm. People regularly paddle canoes the entire length of the canal including the loch sections so it just needs the right planning and a plan for the days when its not going to be so much fun. I think if people were warning you off - they were probably trying to say treat it like the sea rather than a local lake.
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Old 09 March 2021, 07:13   #6
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We'll take the boat and launch at Loch Oich.
Great idea about the boat trips as well, l think we will go on at least one of those.
I'd better give fuller info then. The pontoon at the north end of Loch Oich is close to the road and there's a walkway from the road. If the SW breeze is blowing that is the windy end of the loch.

The slip at the south end is from the small car park, it's a small track with a shingle slip, it's on the left as you enter the car park. It's access was being modified last season so may be slightly different now. You'll find the carpark easily, just look for the couple of anchored boats used as a homes then the park is on your left. If you reach the canal bridge you've gone too far. There is a height barrier on the car park so if your boat is on your roof you'll not pass under. However, the barrier is a distance in so there is space off the main road to deal with it. There's also a water sports centre across the bridge, I've never been into it but you might get an ok welcome there if necessary.

There's a couple of big Humber ribs do fast trips and also cruise boats. Both based in Fort Augustus at the bottom of the lock ladder.

Enjoy!
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Old 09 March 2021, 07:30   #7
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It depends on the weather - there are days when even a boat twice your size would be wet, choppy and unpleasant, and there are days when its flat calm. People regularly paddle canoes the entire length of the canal including the loch sections so it just needs the right planning and a plan for the days when its not going to be so much fun. I think if people were warning you off - they were probably trying to say treat it like the sea rather than a local lake.
Loch ness is definitely weather dependent we did a family holiday a few years ago in a 24ft cruiser from largs to moray firth & back to largs. The trip north we planned to leave fort Augustus & head straight up loch ness & into the canal the other end but it was so rough we were relieved to dive into the little harbour next to urquhart castle & spend the night. Of the whole trip we thought loch ness the most disappointing of all the lochs with little to see of interest except Urquhart. Fort Augustus is realy nice as are most of the other lochs but loch ness it just bland in comparison to others on the trip
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Old 09 March 2021, 10:55   #8
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Agree with beamishken. We did the Inverness to Fort William and return run a few years back in one of the big cruisers and Loch Ness on the way out was more like crossing the channel for "sea" state. We just plugged on and got through to Fort Augustus in as few hours as possible. On the return Loch Ness was calmer but in truth still bit boring and gloomy.

But again as said above once above the FA lochs it became far more varied and interesting making it a great ten days.
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Old 17 March 2021, 16:54   #9
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That's good advice.

What's the height restriction on the car park at Loch Oich? The Defender is 2.01m and won't fit under 2m car park barriers!
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Old 17 March 2021, 20:12   #10
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That's good advice.

What's the height restriction on the car park at Loch Oich? The Defender is 2.01m and won't fit under 2m car park barriers!
Ah, don't know that one. It used to be that you could get to the slip without passing under the barrier but there have been a few modifications to the entrance and a covid barrier too while we were locked down. It needs checking out. You'd probably not be popular but it would be possible to park partially on the grass outside the barrier if necessary. If we're released from lockdown and I'm in that area I'll report back.
Just along the road is roadside parking so if your sib is portable that's another possibility. There is also a pontoon accessible from the roadside just north of the car park and also a shop across the road from the pontoon. There's also an interesting item of significance at the pontoon, I'll let you search it out.

At the Laggan bridge there's also a track down to the holding pontoon for vessels waiting for the bridge opening, I'm sure you'll manage access somehow. Remember, in Scotland you have the right to access land on foot, you can even climb a wall or pass over a fence to access the land provided you cause no damage and are thoughtful and courteous. However, you are not allowed to access private garden land or private land with buildings on it.
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Old 11 May 2021, 15:35   #11
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Ok, passed by the carpark today, good news, the height barrier has been removed so it's easy to get down the slip road to the water and there's plenty of parking.
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