The Ultimate Guide to Loch Ness Boating Holidays – Updated for 2021

Picture it now – the sun is rising over the glinting, dark waters of Loch Ness. As you drift on the loch, spectacular scenery is all around you. The little ones snooze happily in their beds while you sip on a steaming hot cup of coffee, greeting dawn at the helm. The waterways of the Highlands and the Caledonian Canal are all yours, and there is much to explore at your whimsy. This is the beauty of a Loch Ness boating holiday! 

Combining home and transport all in one buoyant vessel, you can steer your holidays wherever you please. Search for the Loch Ness monster, float down gorgeous Highland canals and cruise your way through Scottish villages such as Fort William and Fort Augustus – all with no previous boating experience necessary. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran when it comes to boating holidays, we’ve gathered all the information needed to help you get your sea legs. 

Hop on board and set sail with the ultimate guide to your Loch Ness Boating holiday. 

Laggan Return 

Location: Laggan, Scotland

Best For: Caledonian Canal cruising 

Laggan Return is the only Le Boat base in the Caledonian Canal, ideally located for boating holidays in the north of Scotland. The Laggan Locks are a quick cruise away from many must-see Scottish destinations. For instance, the bustling town of Fort William, gateway to the towering mountain Ben Nevis, is only 3.5 hours south of the base. Loch Ness is also only a 3-hour cruise away. Pick up your boat from the base at Laggan Locks and set off on your great waterway adventure. 

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Nothing quite beats life on the water, but if you would rather spend more quality time onshore, these 10 Log Cabins In Scotland With Hot Tubs will make a great alternative.

Life on the Boat

What better way to see the beauty of the Scottish Highlands than with a week out on the lochs? Watch your stresses melt away and the world float by at a peaceful pace aboard your deluxe boat hire. 

There are 48 types of boats available, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit for you and your family. Your boat will be your home for the holiday, well-equipped with stylish amenities for a comfortable trip cruising. The boat interiors are large and roomy. Kick your feet up and enjoy a ride along the Caledonian Canal!

Choose from three categories of boat styles, ranging in options from Premier, Comfort Plus & Comfort and Budget. Features and prices range from boat to boat – just search to find the one that is right for you. For other Scottish canal boat hire options, take a look at the 5 Best Canal Boat Hire in Scotland You Need to Try in 2021.

When you first arrive at Laggan Base, you’ll find a warm welcome with excellent facilities, restaurants and shops to set yourself up for a great holiday. Enjoy the on-site Wi-fi access and services, and chat with the friendly and knowledgeable staff about your journey.

You will be given an in-depth tour of your boat and how to use it. A staff member will accompany you on-board for a test sail to go through all of the controls and give you guidance to help you be a confident captain. They’ll be more than happy to answer any boating queries you may have at this time, so you can get all the best tips for your Scottish waterway adventure. Whether you have loads of experience or are new to boating holidays, the staff at Laggan Base will have you sailing strong in no time. 

If you’re keen to grab a bite before you depart on the holiday of a lifetime, tuck in to a delicious meal at your pick of the local restaurants, such as The Bothy Bite, An Crann and Fiddlers Restaurant. Don’t forget to stock up on snacks for the journey either! There is a local shop in the village, as well as small supermarkets in the villages of Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit. Larger grocery stores can be found in Fort William or Inverness. 

Cruise Along the Caledonian Canal 

For most of the duration of your trip, you’ll be sailing along the amazing valleys of the Great Glen in the Highlands of Scotland. The Caledonian Canal runs through this for 60 miles, stretching from the city of Inverness in the east all the way to Fort William in the west. 

Nestled in the comfort of your canal boat, you’ll soon be gliding out of the Laggan Locks and along the waters of Loch Oich, the highest point of the Caledonian Canal. Loch Oich is a narrow lake situated between Loch Ness and Loch Lochy. From Loch Oich, you can swing by the beautiful village of Fort Augustus, then take your time in the famous Loch Ness. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster from your cruiser. 

Stop off for a change of pace in the Loch-side village of Drumnadrochit and head out horseback riding. Once you’ve trotted to your heart’s content, see what Scottish fare is on the menu at a local pub in the area. Chow down on neeps and tatties, or try a taste of haggis! Whiskey lovers will love sampling Scotland’s infamous Highland whiskeys too. Scotland is home to some of the best whiskey in the world, so you won’t have to search hard for an amazing one. 

If you’re a history buff, you must visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle while on the famous loch. The jagged 13th century ruins of Urquhart Castle loom mysteriously on the shores of Loch Ness, and its tattered walls are a wonder to explore. In the 14th century, Urquhart is known to have helped play an important role in the Wars of Scottish Independence. Following this, it was occupied as a royal castle and came under much contention. Famous battles were fought on the shores of Loch Ness in attempts to raid the castle. However, in 1692, the castle was demolished in hopes that it would never again become a garrison for armed forces. Urquhart makes Loch Ness a region of great importance and history, as well as beauty. A tour here is an informative addition to your time in Loch Ness. 

Climb and Conquer Ben Nevis 

Head the other way from the base at Laggan through the Laggan Locks towards Fort William. Drift through the freshwater lake Loch Lochy, the third deepest loch in Scotland onto the River Lochy. This will bring you to Fort William and inland, to the magnificent Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland. 

For the closest moorings to the mountain, search no further than Banavie – the neighbouring village to Scotland’s infamous peak. Enjoy the beautiful Highland walking trails in the area and if you’re up to it, spend a day summiting the mountain. Ben Nevis is not only the highest mountain in Scotland but also the entire United Kingdom. With its summit stretching 1345 metres above sea level, when you reach the top, you can know you have accomplished quite a feat. Reward yourself with a hearty meal and a pint back down in Banavie before returning to the canal. 

Wildlife on the Waters

For the eager anglers, cruises along the canals will be ideal. Pass lengthy afternoons fishing in a number of excellent lochs. The local fish vary from Ferrox trout to pike, so cast a line and familiarise yourself with some of the Scottish loch wildlife.

Amongst the beautiful scenery of the Great Glen, there is a wealth of nature to see. Whip out the binoculars for a chance to spot a golden eagle or a peregrine. Scotland is a fantastic region for birding, and along the Caledonian Canal you may spot songbirds, grey heron, osprey, crossbills and a great number of others. 

In the forests along the banks of the Great Glen, you might observe the dashing red fur of a fox or any of the three kinds of deer that call the area home. Keep an eye out for Red deer, Roe deer and Sika deer. If you are lucky, you may also see one of the slippery otters that dwell along the Caledonian Canal. 

Unforgettable Boating Holidays in Loch Ness 

Have the trip of a lifetime cruising along the Caledonian Canal through the Great Glen. Stop off in spectacular Scottish villages like Fort Augustus and Banavie. See the famous Loch Ness and the bordering city of Inverness. Visit castle after castle, and marvel at the rich Scottish Highland beauty up close. 

Whenever your crew is keen to stretch their legs, you’ll find many moorings to dock at. Once off the Caledonian Canal, you can stroll along stunning walking trails, and just enjoy the scenery. (For even more Scottish holiday inspiration, check out the 9 Best Holiday Parks in Scotland You Need to Visit in 2021)         

If all this sounds ideal, just search for your intended date range on our website, and check out what excellent boat options are free. Book your dream holiday on the waterway with Breakfree Holidays today.