The top of Neptune's Staircase at Banavie is the cruising limit. It is a pleasant village by the Caledonian Canal, about 3 miles from Fort William town centre. The scenery around Banavie is exceptional with Ben Nevis (Britain's highest mountain), Aonach Beag and Aonach Mòr dominant in the skyline.
Banavie is best known for the eight locks known as Neptune’s Staircase. The locks were built in the early 1800’s as part of the Caledonian Canal, which opened in 1847. The architect was Thomas Telford. The locks descend a height of 19.5 metres in a horizontal distance of 457 meters and it takes about ninety minutes for a boat to pass through. Please note that no hire cruiser will pass through here. It's a nice walk or cycle from Banavie into Fort William via Caol village, or visa versa.
More options for eateries, shopping and activities are listed on the Fort William page.
Restaurants, Bars, Cafes & Takeaways
Moorings Restaurant, Cafe & Bistro – Choice between the fine dining Neptune’s restaurant and Cafe Bistro; located beside the lock flight.
Tel: 01397 772 797
The Lochy - Traditional Pub, Bar & Restaurant, only 5 min. walk from the locks at Banavie. Dog friendly. Live Sports TV.
Tel: 01397 703 587
Sammy's Fish and Chip Shop - Takeaway, Kilmallie Rd, Caol. 0.8 miles (less than 15 min. walk) from Banavie.
Tel: 01397 701 078
Deli Barqen Chinese Takeaway & Fish Bar - Glenloy Street, Caol. 0.8 miles (less than 15 min. walk) from Banavie. Delivery available.
Tel: 01397 702 332
Co-op - Small but nearest supermarket to the lock flight. Kilmallie Rd, Caol. Less than a mile (13-15 min. walk) from Banavie.
Tel: 01397 703 302
Post Office - Glenloy Street, Caol. 0.8 miles (less than 15 min. walk) from Banavie.
Lloyds Pharmacy - Glenloy Street, Caol. 0.8 miles (less than 15 min. walk) from Banavie.
Tel: 01397 703 403
Sights & Activities
Neptune's Staircase - Scotland’s longest flight of canal lock gates. The lock flight comprises eight locks and it takes a boat around 90 minutes to be lifted a total of 64 feet (19.5 m) up or down from one end to the other. This ladder of eight locks is an impressive feat of engineering on this canal.
Walk: Neptune's Staircase and the Canal - Explore the rest of the Caledonian Canal by foot between Banavie and Corpach, a village located at the shores of Loch Linnhe. A picturesque and easy 2.75 miles (4.5km) circular walk along the canal path.
Nevis Range Mountain Experience - Let Britain's only mountain gondola transport you to 650m on the slopes of Aonach Mor, the eighth highest peak in Britain, just 2 peaks from Ben Nevis. Meander along the mountain trails to the panoramic viewpoints, then relax in the restaurant & bar with breathtaking views. Base station located about 5.5 miles from Banavie. You can cycle or walk to the Nevis Range along the pathway which follows the A82, signposted to Inverness. At Torlundy it turns to the right, away from the A82 and goes through Leanachan forest to the Nevis Range. Alternatively catch the number 41 bus service from Stagecoach on the A82 (bus stop about 1 mile from Banavie) or call a local taxi company.
Tel: 01397 705 825 (Nevis Range)
Ben Nevis Distillery - Established in 1825, it is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. 1.4 miles (about 30 min. walk) from Banavie.
Tel: 01397 700 200 (Visitor Centre) or 702 476
Nevis Cycles Bike Hire - Also selling bikes & cycling clothing and offer bike repairs. 2.5 miles (about 45 min walk) from Banavie.
Tel: 01397 705 555
Rockhopper Sea Kayaking - Offer half, full or multi-day sea kayaking trips through some of the most spectacular coastal, mountain and island scenery in Scotland. Bike & Canoe Hire is also available from their base at Neptune's Staircase in Banavie. Main hub located in Corpach, 2.3 miles (about 45 min walk) from Banavie.
Tel: 07739 837 344
Banavie at night
Berthing at Banavie
Views of Ben Nevis