The Caledonian Canal

At the top end of Loch Dochfour the water becomes the Inverness section of the Caledonian canal.

Dochgarroch Weir, River Ness and Caledonian CanalWork began on the canal in 1803 and was completed in 1822 at a cost of £840,000, about £54.5m in 2007 money. Though the Inverness section was open to ships in 1818. The idea was that ships would no longer need to make the long and dangerous trip around the North of Scotland to reach the West coast from the East coast and vice versa.

It was designed by Thomas Telford originally to be 20ft deep, but was only made 14 ft deep to save time and money. This was corrected between 1844 and 1847 to the full 20 ft as the canal did not properly serve its purpose at only 14ft. By the time this correction had been made though ships were bigger and Inverness was connected by rail so the canal had become less useful anyway. Unlike other canals in Scotland though the Caledonian canal has remained in constant use since its completion.

Dochgarroch weir is on the right hand side of the very begining of this section of the canal and defines the begining of the River Ness.

The weir was constructed at the same time as the canal and raised the level of the loch by about 8 ft. It is over 540 yards (500m) long but most of the water flows over at the south end. In the summer time during a dry spell the weir can be very dry and suitable for walking over.