Neptune’s Staircase

There is something for those who love travelling and being to new places. Have you heard something about the ‘Neptune’s staircase’? If not, then you are missing something worth watching. The spectacular structure was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1822.

locks at Banavie

picture via Kildonan Bed and Breakfast

The Neptune’s staircase is built over the Caledonian Canal located at Banavie, near Fort William just north of Loch Linnhe in Scotland. The Caledonian Canal covers a distance of 60 miles over the Great Glen from Corpach near Fort William in the south west to Inverness in the north east. Covering an area of about 500 yards, it is known to be the largest staircase lock in the United Kingdom and it can lift the boats to a height of 64 feet! It comprises of nine locks. Each lock gate weighs about 22 tons. The approximate cost of these locks was estimated to be about $50000. Fishing boats as well as tall ships and pleasure craft can be seen passing through it. It attracts many tourists because of its splendid structure.

It takes about ninety minutes for a boat to pass through them. Basically the boats which take the route between the Atlantic and the North Sea pass through this famous staircase. One of its major advantages is that it provides a safe inland route from Moray Firth to the Forth of Lorne. These locks are operated through hydraulics. This grand chamber consists of lock chambers having a width of about 40 feet. They have a depth of about 20 feet. Although now there is a mechanised system to turn the locks, but previously massive capstans were used in order to operate them which required a lot of hard work. The operators had to do a lot of labour in operating them. At the top most flight of stairs, telescopes are provided for the tourists to enjoy the magnificent view. The final lock is about 203 feet. Made out of natural rocks it leads to Loch Linnhe. Glen Mallie, a beautiful and spell bounding cedar bungalow, is located close to the Neptune’s staircase. In fact there is also a museum located here. Many hotels are located near this structure for the convenience of the tourists. For those who love gemstones and crystals, Treasures of Earth located nearby is a nice place to visit.

Recently, the British Waterways have installed a new lighting system at the Neptune’s staircase. About multi million pounds have been spent over this project. This would not only to is beauty and encourage tourists to visit this beautiful creation but also sure safety of the waterways following this path. Green light illuminates the beautiful structure at night.

Fort William attracts many tourists every year because of its scenic beauty and millions of places to explore. It’s the best place for recreation and to relax. Beautiful glens, forests, beaches, mountains and greenery which are a part of this place are fabulous. Mountain biking is one of the most popular sports here. Fort Williams can be stated as the ‘heaven on the earth’.



Searching for the perfect place to stay near Fort William? Our Lochaber Accommodation directory provides a listing of all the places to stay. These include Bed and Breakfasts, Camping, Caravans, Guest Houses, Hostels, Hotels, and Residential Care Homes.

INFO….. ADD ME – f your business isn’t listed, but does serve the Lochaber Region, or if you would like to get listed here, then please use the ADD ME link   and we will be glad to assist.

Places to stay in Lochaber range from a Spartan mom and pop guest house, to four star hotels, generally being priced accordingly. Fort William area accommodations are plentiful, though booking early is recommended, as tourist season is quite busy.

Things to do …. When coming to the Highlands of Scotland, there are a great many reasons to stay in Fort William. Being central to many of the popular sites is just one good reason. All within a short drive include the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Neptune’s Staircase, Mallaig, Morar, Harry Potter’s Hogarwarts Express, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and much much more.

Where to stay .... Nearly all Fort William Bed Breakfast accommodation offers a taste of what the Highlands are all about. See the Bed and Breakfast, Hotels, Self-catering and Hostels pages. Hosts are frequently long time residents of the area, with delightful insights and stories about what is happening in the area, and reflect the personality of the region.

Fort William is strategically located in the Western Highlands of Scotland, approximately half-way between Glasgow and Inverness. It is small enough of a town to not suffer the big city traffic and issues, while large enough to have plenty of shopping and choices for dining and accommodation.

Bed and Breakfast choices located in Lochaber, either in or near Fort William, and are definitely worthy of consideration in making accommodation choices.