One of the best ways to have a true Scottish Experience is to cruise Scotland’s Great Glen in a wee ship, sailing through Loch Ness and along the incredible Caledonian Canal. This experience is even more enhanced by seeing the wonderful autumn colours in the company of our onboard, very experienced, art tutor Anthea Gage, RSW. Anthea has more than 30 years’ experience teaching artists of all ages and of all abilities.
During the cruise you will be discovering, through the use of several sketch books, how to record and capture the ever changing and beautiful Scottish sea and land-scapes around the boat, as well as ashore when appropriate. We will explore a wide variety of materials and techniques, from drawing with traditional media like pencils and oil pastels, to liquid watercolour painting, mixed media work and collage. The focus will be on developing individual skills and enjoying learning about new approaches to drawing and painting, using the sketch books to later produce a more finished and detailed work indoors. There are several sheltered spots on deck to work outside as well as space in the main cabin area, and everyone is welcome to take part wether you are a beginner or a more experienced artist.
You don't have to take advantage of Anthea's tutoring but, if you wish, we will supply all the art materials free of charge. Please note that you have to let us know if you would like to take part in Anthea's sessions when you book your cruise, so that we can organise the art materials in advance.
Our six night Scottish cruises travel both ways through the Canal which connects Fort William on the west coast of Scotland, situated at the top of Loch Linnhe, to Inverness, on the east coast and the capital of the Highlands, situated on the Moray Firth. Guests can decide in which direction they wish to travel – either eastwards from Fort William or westwards from Inverness. Depending of your choice of travel through the canal we start the cruise in either Inverness (westwards) or Dunstaffnage Marina, near Oban, (eastwards). The Caledonian canal is some 60 miles long and its 29 locks, 10 bridges and 4 aqueducts link the lochs of Dochfour, Ness, Oich, and Lochy. These spectacular sea and fresh water lochs are all located in the Great Glen. Throughout the cruises there are great walks, stunning wildlife, amazing sea and fresh water lochs and picturesque Highland villages and towns and, perhaps, even a chance of seeing the elusive Loch Ness monster!
Drop-off (or pick-up) at the East end of the Caledonian Canal is Seaport Marina.
Our itinerary is flexible and will depend on, guests’ wishes, your skipper and, of course, existing weather conditions.
If you wish to visit a specific place or have a specific experience, such as fly fishing, sea eagle tours, whisky tasting, then please do let your skipper know and he will endeavour to meet your request.
Some of the places we may visit are:
Oban: If you are travelling east (the west cruise is, of course, this itinerary in reverse) we embark our vessels at 1330 at Dunstaffnage Marina, near Oban, the gateway to the Hebridean isles.
Castle Stalker, Loch Linnhe: We head out into beautiful Loch Linnhe and cruise along the east side of the picturesque Isle of Lismore to an anchorage off lovely Shuna Island. We will pass the famous Castle Stalker located on a small tidal loch and our spectacular backdrop up ahead is the Ben Nevis mountain range.
Corpach, Caledonian Canal entrance: To arrive at the Caledonian Canal entrance we cruise up Loch Linnhe. In this stunning sea loch you will have the opportunity to see many types of sea birds, including sea eagles, as well as dolphins, seals and the occasional whale. We are surrounded with fantastic scenery with the impressive Ben Nevis mountain becoming closer as we travel up the loch. After carefully navigating the Corran Narrows we anchor off the Canal entrance at Corpach.
Caledonian Canal: We enter the canal and climb up through the eight locks of “Neptune’s Staircase” to rise nearly 500 feet above the sea. You can walk along the towpath or stay on board as we climb. Then we cruise to Gairlochy and our first inland, freshwater loch which is the long and narrow Loch Lochy. In the autumn, the surrounding hills are alive to the bellows of the rutting stags and the tree-lined parts of the canal are truly magnificent in their autumn colours. We cruise on through beautiful Loch Oich to reach the town of Fort Augustus.
Fort Augustus, Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness: We can visit the bustling town of Fort Augustus with its canal side pubs, Clansman Centre and Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre. When we leave the town we begin our descent through the locks to Loch Ness. This a large, long (23 miles) very deep loch and is famous for golden eagles, ospreys and of course “Nessie”! We can anchor off the fabulous, historical Urquhart Castle for an incredibly scenic night.
Drumnadrochit: We can visit the pretty village of Drumnadrochit, home to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, and surrounded by Glen Moriston and Glen Urquhart. We finally cruise to the end of Loch Ness and arrive at Muirtown Basin, near Inverness.
Inverness: Inverness is a beautiful historic city, capital of the Highlands, and not far from the site of the famous Battle of Culloden. For the active there is the Ness Island Trail, which follows the River Ness, and you can even walk the towpath to the Canal’s end at Clachnaharry, where it enters the sea.Enquire now
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A memorable experience which I shall never forget.