Picturesque Fort Augusta's flight of locks lead us down to the swing bridge and finally Loch Ness :-)
[Kyle]Our day started going northeast bound in the company of a couple of rental canal boats is we transited the short stretch of the canal between Loch Lochy and Loch Oich. We went through a swing bridge and then were out on the open water of the highest loch on the canal. Loch Oich is relatively small and shallow. It is only about 2 miles long and has a narrow channel that has to be followed very carefully. The scenery is stunning, though. The shore passes close by and the loch as studded with lots of pretty little pine covered islets.
At the other end was another swing bridge (for the same road – the A82), a couple of locks a mile or so apart and then a short section of canal before the Fort Augustus flight of five locks.
Maryanne and I had been to Fort Augustus many years before and loved it. It is still a beautiful little village, all centered around the flight of locks at its center. On each side of the canal are lots of cozy looking stone buildings with brightly painted trim, mostly pubs.
The day was beautiful and sunny and the village was filled with tourists milling around with smiles and looks of wonder on their faces. While we were waiting for the next scheduled locking down, I went for a little walk around and, in the process, became acutely aware that all of these people were milling around to kill time before the next locking down. The show was about to start and we and two other boats were the stars. Don’t screw this up, I thought.
It was actually a lot of fun. As we were tending our lines from the top of the lock walls, tourists would come up to us and ask us about our boat. Since the other two boats were fairly worn –out looking (different) canal rentals, Footprint, who was the biggest boat in the lock AND flying the flag from a far-away country, got by far the most attention. We got peppered with questions: “Did you sail all the way over from America? How long did it take? Were you scared? Where are you going next?” I could hear others talking about Footprint amongst themselves. It is nice to get a little credit every now and then.
At the last lock, we were lowered down to the level of Loch Ness. We tied up at the pontoon and went for a look. There it was – Loch Ness. I had to just stand there and stare at it for a while. For the rest of the day, as we wandered aimlessly along the trails and through the pretty little town, I was in a daze. I kept thinking to myself, “I sailed to Loch Ness. I actually sailed all the way to Loch Ness.”
Kyle takes a good look at Loch Ness; no monsters today!