Your questions answered
What type of boat should I book?
As you can see on our site, we do have quite a range of different boat classes to choose from so it is understandably difficult to make the right choice.
We would recommend you take a boat larger than you actually need - the extra space certainly won't go amiss. For example, if there are 6 adults in your party, opt for Highland Monarch, Highland Commander or Taransay. If possible avoid having to convert the table into a berth. The smaller vessels such as Iona will be cramped if you fill them to capacity.
Is this holiday suitable for me?
Boating on the Caledonian Canal is different from other inland cruising areas. It can get quite rough on the lochs and a certain amount of physical activity is involved when locking and berthing, therefore we request a minimum of 2 fit and active adult crew members (over 21) to be available at all times to participate in these activities.
All of our vessels have steps inside and some also use ladders to access the boat. On some boat classes (particularly Highland Commander) the steps can be quite steep, please bear this in mind for toddlers, older or infirm/ disabled crew members and your pets. When disembarking from the vessel onto a pontoon, the height difference can be approximately 3ft. Should this be a problem for any of your crew, or indeed you have any queries or concerns, please do discuss them with us prior to booking.
Do I need to take anything with me?
All of our boats are fully equipped with all galley utensils, crockery, pots and pans and basic cleaning supplies. Safety equipment & life jackets are also included. Freshly laundered bed linen and towels are provided - we supply duvets for all fixed berths and sleeping bags for the convertible berths. Blankets and pillows for everyone are on board. Please advise of any allergies prior to arrival.
There is no first aid kit supplied with the boat so please bring your own and please also remember to bring gloves as they are very important for rope work!
When is the best time to come to Scotland?
Scotland is beautiful in every season although, as its reputation suggests, it can sometimes be unpredictable.
May, June and July benefit from long daylight hours - in mid June it doesn't get dark until approximately 11.30 pm!
The beautiful colours of Spring delight the customer - the canal banks are lined with yellow of the Broom and Loch Oich is ablaze with Rhodondendrons.
During September and October you will be treated to the wonderful colours of Autumn but the weather does tend to get slightly cooler then too!
How long can I cruise?
The official stopping time is dusk - however cruising is mainly restricted to the British Waterways Caledonian Canal opening times. All of the bridges and locks are operated by keepers and the hours of operation are usually from 08:30 hrs until 17:30 hrs, 7 day operation from Easter to the end of October. They close for a 1 hour lunch break sometime between 12:00 hrs and 14:00 hrs. These hours of operation are subject to change each year.
Can I use electrical appliances on board?
The easiest and most convenient power source on all of our boats is the 12v cigarette lighter connection which is more than adequate for charging mobile phones and devices. All boats except the Iona class also feature a 240 volt inverter which means that mains power (3 pin plugs) can also be used onboard at any time (battery power levels depending). Please note, however, that most inverters are suitable for charging mobile phones only. Electrical hook-up is available on all boats but please note that there are only a few electrical hook-up points along the canal, therefore we do not recommend that you rely on this. On all boats we request that no more than 1500w appliances should be used. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact the boatyard for advice.
Is there mobile phone reception and WiFi along the canal?
There are WiFi hotspots located at many of the locks along the canal system. Free WiFi at the Caley Cruisers base available. For the majority of the time you spend on the canal you will find the mobile phone signal is very good (especially 02 and Vodafone) but you will find one or two poor areas where the signal will be either low or not available..
Can I stock up with grocery supplies along the canal?
There are various stops along the canal where you can stock up with supplies, the first one being the village of Drumnadrochit, accessible from Urquhart Bay Harbour. But we do recommend that you purchase some basic supplies from Inverness prior to your departure from the boatyard just to get you started. There is a Co-op located close to the boatyard or you can order online at ASDA, Sainsbury’s and TESCO for delivery to the boat yard. Please contact our office for further information on this.