Portaging around the locks on the Caledonian Canal is all part of the Great Glen Canoe Trail experience. A traditional skill, portaging can be carried out in a number of ways depending on your boat type, the number of paddlers in your group and the amount of equipment you have.

Definition : Verb - Carry (a boat or its cargo) between navigable waters. The origin is late Middle English: from French, from porter 'carry'. The sense relating to carrying between navigable waters dates from the late 17th century. (Oxford English Dictionary)

If your unpowered boat is too big to portage, you will need to pay for a canal licence on arrival at one of our Sea Locks. You will also need to bring ropes long enough to pull the boat through the lock chambers, as it is generally unsafe for passengers to remain in very small craft whilst they are locking.

Portage Trolleys

We strongly recommend that all paddlers bring their own portage trolleys. When the Canoe Trail first launched in March 2012 portage trolleys were provided at each of the locks but unfortunately because many of them have been damaged through overloading and several have even been stolen, we have taken the difficult decision to remove them all.

For portage distances, see portage distances.



Trail Map

Trail Guide Map

map of scotland showing the trail

60 miles in 5 days

It is an epic 60 mile (95km) journey crossing Scotland in 5 days and conquering the formidable open waters of Loch Lochy and Loch Ness, a challenge in itself.

From South to North

It is normally easier to paddle the Trail from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east with the prevailing wind behind you.

Download the map