This should be our last full day on the Caledonian Canal.
Vasco took this photo. It is the original little lighthouse that marks the entrance to Gairlochy from the north..the southern end of Loch Lochy. A good photo …Vasco wants it made into a post card!
An early start in the very quiet and peaceful lock basin at Gairlochy…. the southern end of Loch Lochy. Dawn broke after the usual and now too familiar heavy rain. Margaret and I sleep in the aft cabin which is directly below the cockpit at the stern end of the boat. Above the cockpit is the canvas cockpit tent…. and rain hammering down on canvas… like in a tent or even worse, in a caravan…. or camper van, or motor home for that matter.
Toby signalling thumbs up …ready to depart Gairlochy for the last time. The facilities shed in the background!
I think we woke the Gairlochy lock keeper up, by radioing in at precisely 8am…. that we were ready to enter the lock! He was ok…. just said he would be ready by 8.30am…. so we sat out in the lock basin holding station for half an hour. It was a very grey and gloomy sort of morning…. but still and very calm all around. Watched a large fish jump nearby with a big splash…. trout? Near the lock, a group of young hardy folk had set up camp the day before…. I say hardy…. after a wet night in a tent and now a very cold, chilly early morning.
Vasco on the helm in Loch Lochy the day before.
We covered the 6.5n. miles to Banavie in quick time after passing through two swing bridges…. holding up all the early morning traffic on the A82 again! The forest trees almost falling into the canal on both sides!!
After the Moy swing bridge we admired, for the second time, the lovely countryside, hills, woods, forests and mountains that came rolling down to the canal side. So so green …. but that’s no surprise with all this rain!! Boat traffic was light so we managed a steady 4 knots all the way to Banavie.
We were able to moor up on the same pontoon that we left last Friday morning…. so we had shore power and water connections. We had radioed in to the lock keeper Tommy…. a very nice man who had helped and assisted Chris when he had that dreadful accident in lock two of the staircase some ten days ago. He, and the accompanying lady lock keeper, gave us the go ahead, to occupy a good empty berth that was reserved for a permanent berth holder.
Having been up at six that morning with only a cup of tea…. we went swiftly to the Moorings Hotel for breakfast…. not a hundred yards down the staircase. For a tenner each we had a feast!
That is not a half pint of lager for breakfast…it is apple juice!
Vasco decided not to join in…. he paid £1.80 on the bus to visit Fort William. From the Tesco Metro in Fort William high street, Vasco had a chicken and rice dish plus 4 chocolate eclairs…. two of which he ate for dessert! This evening he has now just gone to the local pub….called the Lochy Pub. He has befriended a Portugese waiter who works there. They talk footie! Needless to say, it has been raining on and off all evening.
At 8am tomorrow Saturday, we depart Banavie and “do” the staircase of eight locks…. then two swing bridges, a further two locks and we reach Corpach. Here we hand our toilet/shower keys back in, redeem our deposit….. and if all is well, exit the Corpach Sea Lock into Loch Linnhe…. then southwards.
However, the weather forecast for North West Scotland for the next three days is absolutely rubbish. The words “wind” and “rain” occur a lot.
Total distance for the day: 6.5 n.miles
Total distance from Eastbourne: 1,527.2 n. miles.