History and Majesty on a Caledonian Canal Cruise

Highlander Barge cruises past Urquhart Castle -barge cruise europe

Historic town centres, crinkle-cut shorelines, majestic mountainscapes and awe-inspiring open skies – the Scottish Highlands are truly spectacular. Our Caledonian Canal Cruises are the ideal way to take in the region’s stunning surrounds, whilst keeping an eye out for monsters beyond and below…



Our Caledonian Canal Cruises begin in the delightful town of Inverness. As the capital of the Highland region, it is as large and bustling a city as you get in this, sparsely populated region of Scotland. Inverness has plenty of historically interesting sites; so before you set off towards the Great Glen, take the time to explore. The city has a history that dates back to when it was a stronghold for the Picts in 565 AD. It was the site of two major battles of the centuries: the 11th century Battlefield of the Fingalians and the 18th century Battle of Culloden. The city is also home to the Castle of Inverness, which is a replacement castle built in the 1800s – taking the place of the medieval one that was destroyed by the Jacobites in the infamous uprising.


Caledonian Canal Cruises into Loch Ness

Undoubtedly, one of the most wonderful things you can do on a Caledonian Canal Cruise through the Highlands is to cruise into Loch Ness. Though the whole strip of water that connects Inverness with Fort William to the south is called the Caledonian Canal, you will notice in the more rural parts it has its own unique beauty – first forested, then rocky and covered in heather.

As you glide into the long and narrow Loch Ness, keep your eyes peeled for one of the most famous and elusive creatures in history: The Loch Ness Monster. Nessie, it is claimed, still calls the Loch her home; and in the deep, still waters you might even catch a glimpse of something that just could be her… Due to the high peat concentration, this is one of the murkiest freshwater lochs in Scotland, so many have claimed sightings, but there has been very little conclusive proof. If you have no luck with the real Nessie, pop in to one of the local shops and get your own cuddly toy version to take away with you.

Fort William, Caledonian Canal

Fort William

As a final destination on your Caledonian Canal Cruise in the Scottish Highlands, Fort William is an admirable candidate. As the second largest town in the Scottish Highlands, there is plenty to see and do once you alight from the barge. The history of Fort William is rich and bloody, and a visit to the area of Glencoe is a must.

It is one of the most beautiful areas in the region, said to glean its name, “the Glen of Weeping”, at least partially due to the massacre that occurred here in 1692. (In fact, it is more likely to have been named after the nearby River Coe.) For those looking for a bit more activity, Ben Nevis awaits. As the tallest mountain in Scotland, it won’t be hard to find! Whether you climb it or not is up to you.

Loch Oich

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Scotland is an inspiring land of mountains, glens and famous battlefields, with magical lochs that reflect the legends of the past. You can explore the Great Glen on either of our two Scottish cruises: the 8-passenger Scottish Highlander, reminiscent of a floating country lodge – or the contemporary, 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland with spacious living areas and luxury spa pool.

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