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Scottish Highlands

Enchanting shores of Loch Ness

Inverness
Inverness Airport

  • Start
  • Finish

Banavie
Inverness Airport

An inspirational biking and barging adventure along Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.

A variety of biking options will be offered on this 7day/ 6 night cruise. Each day our experienced guide will show you the best of the trails and rides around and beyond the Great Glen. We look for a mixture of trail, forest track, towpath and scenic road. We will venture into the famous Leanachan forest trails around Nevis Range, home to the Fort William World Cup.  There will be the opportunity to cycle on the old Great Glen Cycle way which takes you high above Loch Ness offering some fantastic views.

  • Type of tour Guided
  • Level 3
  • Duration 7 days
  • Distance 40
  • The Nevis Range
  • Aldourie Castle
  • Cia-aig Falls
  • Great trails and glens biking

Daily Program

1 km = 0,62 miles
Day 1

Saturday - Sea Lock to Dochgarroch

11KM
Saturday - Sea Lock to Dochgarroch

We welcome our guests on to the barge in Inverness at 14.00 on their first afternoon, where we introduce our friendly crew before the barge commences the ascent of the staircase of locks marking the start of our adventure. The afternoon cycle ride then visits the sea lock at the eastern entrance to the Caledonian Canal, before following the towpath along the canal reach to Dochgarroch Lock. An interesting optional detour can take you into Inverness city via the River Ness Islands, adding 2 miles (3.2 km) to the total distance.

Day 2

Sunday- Aldourie Castle and the shores of Loch Ness

26KM
Sunday- Aldourie Castle and the shores of Loch Ness

Our power boat will drop you ashore at a small inlet on the shores of Loch Dochfour. The cycle route follows the forest path past the spectacular Aldourie Castle, through Tor Point woods to the village of Dores on the shores of Loch Ness. The shingle beach by The Dores Inn provides a spectacular location for refreshments whilst admiring the view down the length of Loch Ness. The route then follows a back road along the shore of Loch Ness to Inverfarigaig where we take a break at the Farigaig Forest Information Centre. From here the route heads steeply uphill along good forest roads, with occasional views over Loch Ness, before reaching the village of Upper Foyers with its shop and café and short walk to a spectacular gorge and waterfall. The route down to Lower Foyers is a welcome downhill to the shore of Loch Ness where we find our barge waiting at the pier.

Day 3

Monday – The wild side of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus

11KM
Monday – The wild side of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus

We start the day with a cruise along the wild side of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus. This village is situated on a staircase of 5 canal locks which rise up above Loch Ness. It is the main point of habitation on the route and has a variety of cafes, shops and visitor centres to choose from. The museum, with a live show describing the life of the 17th Century Highlander, is well worth a visit.

After lunch on board the barge we set off for an afternoon cycling along forest trails above Fort Augustus. Spectacular views down Loch Ness are a welcome reward for the climb, followed by some easy trails near the river Oich.

Day 4

Tuesday – Loch Oich, Glen Garry and the ruin of Invergarry Castle

29KM
Tuesday – Loch Oich, Glen Garry and the ruin of Invergarry  Castle

In the morning we cruise along the middle section of the canal and through the first half of the beautiful Loch Oich. We go ashore from the anchorage by powerboat and start our cycle, by the elegant Glengarry Castle Hotel, following the River Garry.
At the village of Invergarry, we set off along the road to Skye for a few miles before heading off on the start of the longest no-through road in the UK. We leave that road to cross the narrows of Loch Garry on a Bridge, then head onto a fairly remote forest trail climbing steadily uphill before an exciting descent takes us down to the River Garry and then back to the shores of Loch Oich.
Back on board the barge at the end of the day, we spend the night at our beautiful anchorage overlooked by Old Invergarry Castle.

Day 5

Wednesday – Laggan Avenue and The Dark Mile

23KM
Wednesday – Laggan Avenue and The Dark Mile

After breakfast, we weigh anchor and cruise along the remaining half of Loch Oich and on through Laggan Avenue, the tree lined section of canal that cuts across the watershed of the Great Glen.
We disembark at Laggan Locks to cycle the forest trail along Loch Lochy. Here we proceed into the mountainous landscape of historic Lochaber with views of the largest of Scotland’s mountains. The trail takes a moderate undulating route to Clunes, the start of the Dark Mile, an amazing road with trees and walls adorned with a rich carpet of mosses and lichens. We then pass the stunning Cia-aig Falls which featured in the film ‘Rob Roy’. After crossing the bridge at the foot of Loch Arkaig and stopping to enjoy the views stretching out to the west, we head through the Achnacarry Estate, home of Cameron of Locheil. Here the Clan Cameron Museum makes an interesting stop, offering information about the history of the area and a chance to buy a well-deserved ice cream.
The last leg of the day takes us along The Great Glen Way to meet the barge at Gairlochy, a quiet hamlet at the south west of Loch Lochy.

Day 6

Thursday – Gairlochy, the Nevis Range and on to Banavie

26KM
Thursday – Gairlochy, the Nevis Range and on to Banavie

From Gairlochy, we cycle up past the impressive Commando Memorial to the village of Spean Bridge. We then head off onto forest tracks through the spectacular scenery of The Nevis Range, our local ski centre and UCI mountain bike championship course. Here you can take the optional ride up the gondola to 650m, for spectacular views and a high level café stop. Later we take the cycle track towards Fort William and to Banavie for our last night aboard the barge.

Day 7

Friday – The Caledonian Canal and Neptune’s Staircase

12KM
Friday – The Caledonian Canal and Neptune’s Staircase

For our final morning we cycle the towpath and explore the local features of the dramatic Caledonian Canal. We will see one of the aqueducts that carries the canal over the tributary rivers to the River Lochy and reach journeys end at the top of spectacular flight of eight canal locks, known as Neptune’s Staircase. A fitting end to an inspirational adventure.
Back on the barge at Banavie we have a light lunch before departures at 13:00

Travel Dates

Date Availability Departure Accomodation Category  
4/8/2017 - 4/15/2017 Fully Booked Inverness Ros Crana Comfort Plus
5/27/2017 - 6/3/2017 Available Inverness Fingal of Caledonia Comfort Plus Book now
7/15/2017 - 7/22/2017 Fully Booked Inverness Fingal of Caledonia Comfort Plus
8/5/2017 - 8/12/2017 Available Inverness Fingal of Caledonia Comfort Plus Book now
10/7/2017 - 10/14/2017 Available Inverness Ros Crana Comfort Plus Book now

Tour prices

Accommodation Room Price Children 0-2 years Children 3-11 years
Fingal of Caledonia twin ensuite cabin € 2190,- free of charge 30% reduction
Ros Crana twin ensuite cabin € 2098,- free of charge 30% reduction

Rent a bike

Included

  • All nights on board (Sat.-Fri. 7 days / 6 nights), cabin in the booked category;
  • Full board (6 x breakfast, 5 x self-made picnic lunch for bike tours, 6 x three course dinner)
  • Use of bed linen and 2 towels (change of towels possible)
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Tour guide
  • Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck, for more than 50 MB there is a surcharge.
  • Ferry fares on the route
  • Bicycle rent

Not Included

  • Reservation costs € 20,- per party
  • Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 15,- per tour
  • Personal insurance

Special details

  • Please take good notice of our bookings conditions.
  • If you have special meal requirements (vegetarian meals, or if you are on a diet), we ask you to mention this when booking.
  • In case of Gluten free diet there is an additional charge of € 50, – per week.
  • Cycletours Holidays reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure
  • The program is subject to change without notice.

Joining instructions for Banavie, Fort William PH33 7NG
We’ll be ready to welcome you aboard between 2.00 and 2.15 pm on the start date of your cruise. Please try not to arrive before 2pm – our ‘turnaround’ time is short and busy and we may not be available to give you the welcome we’d like to.

By Rail.
The West Highland line to Fort William goes through spectacular scenery and is well worth the trip. There are four trains a day including a sleeper service from London Euston. The other trains come from Glasgow and connect with the Mallaig train which stops at Banavie. This is a good option if you want to get lunch locally and can walk with your luggage. From Banavie station, cross the main road and walk up the side of Neptune’s Staircase. The Moorings Hotel is on the left of the canal as you walk up. The barge will be on the right on the last pontoon beyond the top lock, about 800 metres from the station. If you would rather not walk this distance with your bag then alight at Fort William railway station from where it is easy to get a taxi. See our ‘Useful Contacts’ sheet for booking information.

By Bus / Coach.
There is a coach service from Glasgow and Edinburgh. The coach stances at Fort William are near to the railway station, with plenty of choice to find a lunch stop before coming to the barge. From here take a taxi to the last pontoon at the top of Neptune’s Staircase.

By Air.
The nearest airports are Inverness and Glasgow. As the cruise finishes in Inverness a return flight there is a good option. See our ‘Useful Contacts’ page for relevant airlines. Rapson’s Buses connect with Inverness City Centre then on to Fort William train station. Take a taxi from here to the barge which will be moored at the last pontoon at the top of Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie.

Journey’s End
We finish our cruise at Muirtown Basin, Inverness at the specified finishing date and time. For those who have booked our mini bus service this will return you to the cruise start point and takes approx. 2 hours.

Joining instruct ons for Muirtown Basin, Inverness
Post code IV3 5LE

By Rail.
The rail journey to Inverness is via Edinburgh and passes through interesting and dramatic scenery as well as going over the famous Forth Bridge. The railway station is in Inverness city centre about a mile from Muirtown Basin where the barge will be moored. Taxis can be taken from outside the station.

By Bus / Coach.
There is a coach service from Edinburgh to Inverness. The bus station is near to the train station in Inverness town centre, about a mile from Muirtown Basin where the barge will be moored. Taxis can be taken from the bus station.

By Air.
There are airports at Glasgow and Edinburgh but the nearest is Inverness Airport about 12 miles out of town off the A96 Nairn road. See our ‘Useful Contacts’ sheet for relevant airlines. Take a taxi from the airport or a bus into town followed by a taxi to Muirtown Basin where the barge will be moored.

Journey’s End
We finish our cruise at Banavie, near Fort William at the specified finishing date and time. For those who have booked our minibus it will collect you from here and return you to the start point. This will take approx. 2 hours.

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Frequently asked questions

  • Which countries do the participants come from?

    The principal countries represented by our cycling guests are: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, France, Germany, and Spain. However we regularly welcome South Africans and Japanese guests.

  • Can you rejoin the barge before the end of a stage?

    No, the ship doesn’t take the same route that the cyclists do. Sometimes the route may be altered because of weather conditions or repairs to bridges or locks and then the guests and the guide can arrange with the skipper to be met at a different place. Naturally you can always stay on board for one or more days.

  • How large is the group on board?

    The size of the group depends on the barge scheduled on the tour. The capacity of the barges varies between 12 and 26 participants.

  • How long are the daily cycling stages?

    The average daily distance on our Bike & Barge tours in Holland is 50 kilometers (32 miles).  But don’t forget that Dutch countryside is very flat and the stages, taken at a leisurely pace, take seven to eight hours including a number of breaks and visits.
    The time spent on your bicycle is about 4 hours per day.

  • What packing list do you suggest?

    What you need to bring with you

    Specialised cycle clothing may be handy but not strictly necessary. What you do need (among other things) is the following:
    •    shorts/ long trousers/ track suit/ legging
    •    shirts/ sweater/ rain clothing
    •    gloves (in case you booked a tour for April and October. It can be chilly in the morning)
    •    good shoes
    •    sunglasses/ cap/ swimming costume
    •    extra towel
    •    soap/ insect repellent
    •    hairdryer (220V)

More questions

Price starting from € 1049,- * * There are no extra's included in this price

Accommodations

Fingal of Caledonia
Fingal of Caledonia
 

About the barge

Fingal has been running successful cruises since 1996.  She is 39 metres long and has the capacity to carry 12 passengers and up to 6 crew members.

Cabin plan

6 twin ensuite cabins, large dining and saloon area

Fingal of Caledonia detailed information

  • Displacement: 180 tonnes
  • Engine: Gardner 6LXB 180hp
  • Cruising Speed: 5 knots
  • Construction: Riveted steel
  • Originally built: 1929 Belgium
  • Passenger boat conversion: 1995
  • Registration: Inverness
  • Capacity: 12 guests and up to 6 crew
  • Operating area: The Great Glen including the Caledonian Canal, Loch Linnhe from Corran Narrows to Loch Eil, Beauly Firth and Moray Firth to Chanonry Point.

Acces to fingal

Fingal of Caledonia has 7 steep steps down from the deck into the boat at both ends. These have good handrails and we are very used to helping people up and down but the boat is in no way wheelchair accessible. When we are at anchor, access to and from the shore is by our smaller RIB support boat. Access to this boat is by a short ladder up to Fingal’s deck. Down below in Fingal there is a single step at each end of the cabin passage and single steps again up into the en-suite and into the shower. Guests must be able to climb a small ladder.  This is for safety regulations so that persons can evacuate the barge in the event of a fire or other emergency situation.
   
 
  • Offical name Fingal of Caledonia
  • Length 39 m
  • Width 5.05 m
  • Capacity 12 persons
  • Electricity 220 Volts
Ros Crana
Ros Crana

About the barge

Ros Crana was purchased by Caledonian Discovery in January 2012 and is being converted ready to carry her first passengers in May 2013.  She has the capacity to carry 12 passengers and up to 6 crew members.  The main difference between Ros Crana and her sister barge Fingal is that Ros Crana has an upper deck galley and dining saloon with great views outside.

Cabin plan

6 twin ensuite cabins, large dining and saloon area

Ros Crana Detailed Information

  • Length: 44 metres
  • Beam: 5 metres
  • Originally built: 1962 Tielrode, Belgium
  • Rebuilt: 2012/13
  • Registration: Inverness
  • Capacity: 12 guests and up to 6 crew
  • Operating area: The Great Glen including the Caledonian Canal, Loch Linnhe from Corran Narrows to Loch Eil, Beauly Firth and Moray Firth to Chanonry Point.

Acces to ros crana

Ros Crana has regular sized steps down from the deck into the boat at both ends. These have good handrails and we are very used to helping people up and down but the boat is in no way wheelchair accessible. When we are at anchor, access to and from the shore is by our smaller RIB support boat. Access to this boat is by a short ladder from the deck. Down below in Ros Crana there is a small ramp at each end of the cabin passage and single steps again up into the en-suite and into the shower. Guests must be able to climb a small ladder. This is for safety regulations so that persons can evacuate the barge in the event of a fire or other emergency situation.  
  • Offical name Ros Crana
  • Length 44 m
  • Width 5 m
  • Capacity 12 persons
  • Electricity 220 Volts

Inverness-Banavie

 

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