Loch adventure!

Setting out for her sailing season, the Tecla will set sail from Amsterdam to Inverness – heading into the Caledonian Canal to get to the West coast of Scotland. For this voyage you will have 14 days, from which at least 4 or 5 will be spend in the Canal.

The Caledonian Canal consists of lochs and man made pieces of canal that connect them. Only 1 third of the canal is man made and was finished building in 1822.

Wikipedia

The canal was conceived as a way of providing much-needed employment to the Highland region. The area was depressed as a result of the Highland Clearances, which had deprived many of their homes and jobs. Laws had been introduced which sought to eradicate the local culture, including bans on wearing tartan, playing the bagpipes, and speaking Gaelic. Many emigrated to Canada or elsewhere, or moved to the Scottish Lowlands.[2] The canal would also provide a safer passage for wooden sailing ships from the north east of Scotland to the south west, avoiding the route around the north coast via Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth.

The whole canal is over 60 miles long and has 29 locks. In a speedy crossing you can get through the Caledonian Canal in about 2 days. But don’t get stressed if you are left in your lock when the lockmaster takes his lunch break, it is a beautiful trip, so take your time.

The idea for this trip is to combine sailing with walks and hikes into the interior of Scotland. Along the canal and into the rugged surroundings are beautiful walks. This way some of the pieces of canal that can not be sailed through, are spend walking along the canal or with a big circle to the next town where the Tecla will be waiting for you. Some of the walks will take you along the towpaths. From Torbeck on the edge of Inverness to Loch Tarff (or the other way around) there is a 28 mile long track called the South Loch Ness Trail that was launched in 2011 and should be suitable for all kinds of users.

In 2015 the Tecla planned to go through the Caledonian Canal as well, but as there was water damage in spring time, the canal was closed.

In 2016 the Tecla will pass through the Caledonian Canal twice, once in April and once in September. In 2015 there was a Open Door event throughout the highland of Scotland where special buildings opened their doors to visitors in the month September. Along the Canal this would be Bona Lighthouse (Loch Ness) and a few special houses around Inverness. 2016 might bring some beautiful open doors along the route as well!

The historic waterway was closed to boats since early March after floods caused by heavy rain and melting snow undermined a weir at Cullochy near Fort Augustus, washing over half the structure away and causing a major breach in the canal embankment.

Scottish Canals and its contractors, who were on-site within hours, had to battle with significant volumes and velocity of water to repair the damage, with more than 20 tonnes passing through the breach every second – the equivalent of four fully-grown African elephants.

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The voyages of the Tecla (T2016-1 and T2016-14) will both take 14 days. What makes these voyages so special is the combination of the highland of Scotland with some real North Sea sailing. The stretch of about 350 miles on the North Sea will give you that amazing feeling of sailing away from land and not seeing where you are going, except for the compass course you will be holding while steering the Tecla. These voyages give you the opportunity to experience some night sailing, get into the rhythm of the watches and feel at home at sea.

The spring time voyage might give you a glimpse of white caps of snow on Ben Nevis. In spring time everything is yellow with flowers. And September might give you an amazing end of summer sunny and warm week in the canal. At the end off summer the moors will be intensely purple. Both trips have their strong points, it’s up to you to choose for the awakening of spring nature or the saturation of summer.

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