"the canal had a specification larger than others in the country at that time: a width of 33.5m (109.9ft) at the surface and 15.2m (49.8ft) "
Very prescient of Telford to set the specification out in metres all those years ago......
The Highlands are home to spectacular hills and mountains. You'll also find dotted around some fairly unusual engineering projects that have endeavoured to conquer them. One of the oldest and most enduring of these grand projects is the Caledonian Canal, which cuts across 96km (60 miles) of Scotland from Inverness to Fort …
I rather suspect that the original specs were more likely to have been 110 feet and 50 feet exactly (since we all like round numbers), and have suffered from being converted back and forth too many times in various documents since then.
Nevertheless, I'm glad that The Reg also quoted the measurements in metric, as, like most of the world's population, I'm not very familiar with imperial, and such measurements mean little to me and are hard to visualise..
> Loch Oich Get Orf my Land
We have right-to-roam legislation in Scotland, so "Get Orf my Land" shouldn't be heard here., and if it is, can safely be ignored.
Re the fear of monotony, it's not likely in the Great Glen as it is utterly stunning, but you could divert to Glen Roy to see the "parallel roads" that caused so much geological headscratching. I'd recommend the site undiscoveredscotland.co.uk for suggestions for roads less travelled.
We did most of it by boat (except the ends where hire boats aren't permitted) a few years ago. Fantastic scenery and we had glorious weather, too good in fact as there wasn't enough wind for sailing most of the time.
One downside is that as the bridges and locks are all keeper controlled you are stuck with their timings, if they decide lunch is at 12:30 it doesn't matter if you arrive at 12:28, you're gonna have to wait.
I did quite a bit of the canal with friends a few years back in the tail end of October. We 'parked' up at the pay and display harbour next to Urquhart Castle for the night. Such a cold and clear autumn night with an awe inspiring view of the milky way as all light pollution is blocked by the steep sides of the loch and the shadow of the hill upon which the castle is stood..
"The Imperial units are useful for historical content"
Don't be silly. Scotland, like the rest of the UK (at the the time of writing), still uses miles on road signs! Even 5 year olds know what miles are and barely understand kilometres! (though are probably more at home with metres than feet)
Don't be silly. Scotland, like the rest of the UK (at the the time of writing), still uses miles on road signs! Even 5 year olds know what miles are and barely understand kilometres!
An utterly bollocks argument; Most people have very little idea of what an mile or kilometre actually is, they do however understand time. When you look at a map and the distance is 80miles and the speed limit is 40/mph then the distance is two hours. Not much changes is you use metric EG: the distance is 200km and the speed limit it 100/kmh then the distance is two hours
I remember the same stupid arguments being made when I was a kid and NZ moved from Miles to Kilometres. It's utterly irrelevant, once the road signs & maps are converted and the Speedo on the car upgraded then the "understanding" for how far away something is, is exactly the same.
Now get the hell off my bloody lawn
Journey time may be the most useful factor, but everyone knows how long a metre is, and that 100 of them make up the distance between hectometre posts that some delightfully sensible countries have alongside their roads, and 10 of those make a kilometre. Easy-peasy, and very visualisable (and a very good indicator of progress if you are cycling or on horseback).
A mile is, umm, err, how many feet, yards, whatevers, again?
shoot the subeditor (again)
" and it saw development of steam dredger - rare machine in Scotland at that time "
what kind of English is that
"the canal had a specification larger than others in the country at that time: a width of 33.5m (109.9ft) at the surface and 15.2m (49.8ft) at the bottom."
yet later you say
"the 29 gates it needed were then the world’s largest at 55m (180.4ft) long, 12.1m (39.6ft) wide and between 7.7m (25.2ft) and 6m (19.6ft) in depth."
while from Wiki
"Maximum boat beam 35 ft 0 in (10.7 m)"
Looks like someone has got feet and metres mixed up
"Thomas Telford was the project’s principal engineers......" Telford is plural???
"– and took nearly twice as long as forecast – 12 years rather than the initially calculated seven"
"Date of act 1803 Date completed 1822"
I make that 19 years: i.e. it took an EXTRA 12 years
"Scotland, never mind Britain, have may locks - but few like this one. What’s more, following its course is easy."
Following the course of the lock? Surely following the course of the canal?
I've my eyes on a nice little 2 master with pacific hull. 'glass on oak and if the for sale tag (I've seen her change hands 4 times in the last 22 years) is to be believed was keeled in the late '50s. Many upgrades and touchups in her lifetime - I'm quite sure she'll fit - and I've a mind to find the oddball waterways throughout the planet and give them all a cruise. I'll add this one to the list.
<Hmm. Need a (here comes the boom) icon.>
Had the author the time and/or money a boat journey is the best way of appreciating the canal. There is also the Great Glen Long Distance Path which, mostly, takes you along the canal side from Corpach to Fort Augustus then high up the south west side of Loch Ness to Inverness.
Trainees would arrive at Spean Bridge railway station following a 12-plus hour journey and step off for a 11km march uphill to the castle (that is still standing, but closed to the public) while carrying 15.87kg (35lbs) of equipment.
Anyone who failed to make the march within 60 minutes was immediately returned to their unit
That's quite some pace for someone with a heavy pack!
My Father was one of those. In action they would carry packs up to 60 lbs so 35 lbs was light relief. They arrived at the 60lb limit by sending a bunch of lads out on a forced march across the Highlands and staging an unexpected unarmed combat drill at the end. They kept piling on the weight and doing it again with another bunch of mugs until they got to the point where the lads were no good in a fight at the end of the forced march and settled on a few pounds less.
How do I know this? My Father was the Lance Sergeant shouting at them as they had the punch-up at the end of the march. The fool managed to get himself shot in North Africa relatively early in the Commando's war activities so actually spent much of the 2nd World War in the West Highlands as a Commando unarmed combat instructor (A fact I never fail to mention to anybody who looks like they might one day want to pick a fight with me, it's been an unfailingly successful deterrent) and fell in love with the place. Thus many family holidays were spent there in what to the teenage me was magnificently wild, but stunning dull, surroundings. I've since done my penance for thinking that about the Highlands by walking the West Highland Way and stopping off at Spean Bridge and tipping my hat to the lads on the Commando Memorial.
....started in a hotel by Loch Lomand, then another in Fort William, and finally in Inverness over two weeks. Wifey still thinks it was romantic with lots of wonderful scenery and and has no idea about all the wonderful engineering I experienced over those two weeks.
(The nights were energetic too! but didn't involve engineering!
I used the Caledonian Canal for its intended purpose last April - I brought my boat through when taking it from the Clyde to a marina near Walton on the Naze. The complete passage from the Clyde to Walton was a bit of an epic ; we took 3 weeks (including rest days and the days when we decided the weather forecast was too bad!). We didn't use the other scenic canal - the Crinan Canal, while a very pleasant and scenic route is ridiculously expensive for what you get. Also, from most of the Clyde, it doesn't give a time advantage, so we went round the Mull of Kintyre.
The Caledonian Canal was very interesting, and we spent nearly a week on its waters, entering at Corpach and leaving at Clachnaharry, where the Clachnaharry Inn provides an excellent pint and a decent meal. Going up and down the staircases of locks was awe-inspiring, and even a little vertigo inducing when looking down a flight from the top! As a user of the canal, the only real inconvenience was that movement on the canal is prohibited after about 5.30 pm, and the last obstacle (the swing bridge carrying the road below the Muirtown locks) can't be used for about 2 hours before the canal shuts down for the night because rush hour traffic takes priority. Sadly the mooring above the Muirtown locks doesn't have much in the way of facilities, and at that time of the year we valued the availability of mains electricity!
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