Banavie to Gairlochy along the Caledonian Canal
- Location: Fort William
- Starting Point: Neptune's Staircase Car Park, Banavie
- Trail Length: 15 miles
- Time Required: 2.5 - 3.5 hours depending on how easy you take it!
- Route Type:
- Family / Recreational
- Grade: Beginner
- O.S. Map:
- Parking: At Start
This is an easy ride along the Caledonian Canal, and then looping round to the start along a quiet B road, and is a nice half day, or couple of hours ride.
Start from the car park at the bottom of Neptune's Staircase. Cycle out to the canal and turn left up the locks. Cross over the canal at the top lock and turn left again to cycle past the top basin and pass through a gate across the tow path.
You now have a easy ride all the way along the tow path to Gairlochy, a stretch of approximately 7 miles, a stretch of the canal which passes small cottages and with fantastic views up the Great Glen.
Gairlochy is the perfect place to stop for a refreshment break and is the halfway point on the ride. Once in Gairlochy turn left onto the road and over the canal bridge, and then left again up the hill, following the signs for Banavie and Fort William. A right turn at this point would take you to Achnacarry and Loch Arkaig, a good detour if you're only just feeling warmed up! The road then winds back along the glen passing crofts and opening up for great views over Loch Linnhe.
There is another option for a detour into Glen Loy about halfway along the road (sign posted, see the Glen Loy trail description). The road will eventually enter a 30 mile an hour zone, and then into Banavie. Pass the Moorings Hotel and you will then see the car park on your left hand side.
The Moorings Hotel serves food, including lunches and afternoon teas. The Lochy Bar serves very generous portions a little further down the canal, just after the rail and road bridges.
Jenny - fair weather cyclist!
I like this ride, because you can either ride it quickly, or cycle out gently, have a chat as you go and enjoy the views! It is a great introduction to cycling around Fort William, and makes a fantastic social afternoon out.