Crinan Canal

Argyll & the Isles

Sail along the Crinan Canal, one of the most beautiful waterways in Britain, and enjoy uninterrupted views of Scotland’s breathtaking and rugged natural landscape. Known as Scotland’s most beautiful shortcut, the 9-mile Crinan Canal takes approximately 6 hours to transit. But there is no need to rush. Put the hustle and bustle of everyday life to one side and step into the slow paced, relaxing world of sailing. Enjoy the magnificent surroundings and explore the many different aspects the area has to offer The Crinan Canal is a wonderful waterway to explore by kayak or canoe, surrounded by the stunning scenery of Argyll and Bute. From end to end the Crinan Canal is 9 miles long. Its sheltered waters make it an ideal place for beginners and more experience paddlers to explore.

A walk from Crinan to Ardrishaig is only 9 miles and provides you with the perfect opportunity to take in the stunning views of Mid Argyll and watch the boats sailing by. The wildlife along the canal includes herons and wrens, otters and wild mink. As you pass through beautiful scenery you might catch a glimpse of deer and rare red squirrels in the surrounding pine forests. This area of Scotland is well known as a haven for all kinds of wildlife. Watch Osprey from the canal towpath and look out for dolphins in the sea at Crinan. Pine martins, one of Scotland’s rarest mammals, are so shy they are rarely seen. Moine Mhor is a lowland raised bog, a rugged and beautiful landscape that is the wild heartland of Kilmartin Glen. It is one of Europe’s rarest and most threatened wildlife habitats, 98% of which have already been destroyed. The best views of Moine Mhor (The Great Moss) are from the Crinan Canal near Bellanoch or the ancient hill fort of Dunadd. From here you can see the waterlogged system of pools and bogs alongside the gentle twists and turns of the River Add. Down at bog level you will find hen harriers, curlews as well as an impressive range of dragonflies and Stonechats which are present all year round. Only 9 miles in length, the Crinan Canal was built to improve access to the Western Isles, offering a safe transit route from Ardrishaig on Loch Fyne to Crinan, avoiding the long, arduous journey around the Mull of Kintyre.

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To download the Crinan Canal Skippers Guide click here.