Though the day dawned with clouds, drizzle, and blustery winds, we soldiered on our way into the Caledonian Canal. First, we entered Neptune's Staircase, the largest flight of locks on the canal. Then we had a pleasant cruise through Loch Lochy, one of the canal's four lochs or freshwater lakes. Sideways winds and blowing rain made outdoors viewing and photography more challenging, but we rose to the occasion to enjoy the impressive views and farm country. After lunch, we transited Laggan Avenue, a narrow stretch of beautiful tree-lined canal that is quite photogenic. At about this time, the rain had its final say for the day and we continued with intermittent glimpses of blue sky. The west side of Scotland receives significantly more rain than the east side, so we hoped we were leaving the clouds behind. From the avenue we entered Loch Oich, with a shallow dredged channel marked by navigation aids. We passed the ruins of Invergarry Castle (burnt by Cumberland) and saw our first deer of the journey.
In the afternoon, many of us disembarked to stroll a couple of miles along the side of the canal. Lord of the Glens sailed past, providing photographers with a lovely subject, and met us at Fort Augustus, a small village on the banks of Loch Ness. There we had a couple of walks. One of the walks strolled through town to take in the sights of interest. The other trekked up the canal, across the golf course, through a cemetery, and up into the hills. The day ended with blue skies, blazing sunshine, and lovely views of the surrounding countryside.
Later on, the captain gave a lecture on the history of the Caledonian Canal and we finished the day with a film on the canal.