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Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus

A 60 mile navigation through the Great Glen, designed by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, principally to boost the local economy and enable safer movement of the fishing fleet. Opened 1822

Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):

Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre,

Canal Side

Fort Augustus

PH32 4BA
Visitor Centre:

About Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus

 The Caledonian Canal runs for 60 miles along the Great Glen from Corpach near Fort William in the South West to Inverness in the North East. The canal was started in 1803 to plans produced by Thomas Telford following survey work by James Watt thirty years earlier. It was the biggest of the building schemes undertaken by the Government to provide work and stem the flood of emigration from the Highlands. The huge scale of the work and the shortage of skilled engineers meant that the seven year schedule and £350,000 budget always looked optimistic. It was: by the time the canal finally opened in 1822 it had taken 17 years and cost £840,000. And instead of the 20 ft. depth in Telford's plans, the canal when it initially opened was only 14 ft. deep, too shallow for many of the increasingly large ships being built at the time.

The Red Wheel Heritage Plaque was unveiled by John Cameron CBE and Chris O'Connell on Sunday 16th April 2023 accompanied by John Yellowlees


Images: Fractal Angel / Fort Augustus Locks; Peter Glyn, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; John Yellowlees with thanks

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR