Visitor information to the areas around the Crinan Canal in Argyll, Scotland, including Kilmartin Glen and Crinan Harbour
Local Phone code for Crinan: +44 (0)1546
Kilmartin Glen is bordered to the south by the Crinan Canal, a nine-mile stretch of waterway linking Loch Fyne at Ardrishaig with the Sound of Jura. It was designed and built by Sir John Rennie in 1801, with the assistance of the ubiquitous Thomas Telford, to allow shipping to avoid the long and often hazardous journey round the Mull of Kintyre and to help stimulate trade in the islands. These days you're more likely to see pleasure yachts and cruisers sailing on the canal than the cargo vessels which once transported coal and other goods to the islands and returned with livestock. You don't need to come in a boat to appreciate the canal. You can walk or cycle along the towpath that runs the entire length of the canal, from Ardrishaig to Crinan, and watch boats of all shapes and sizes negotiating a total of 15 locks.
The best place to view the canal traffic is at Crinan, a pretty little fishing port on Loch Crinan at the western end of the canal. Here you can take a boat trip with Gemini Cruises, based at Crinan harbour, Tel/Fax. +44 (0)1546 830238. They offer two-hour wildlife spotting cruises round Loch Craignish, or longer trips out to the Gulf of Corrievreckan.
Crinan Canal Hotels & Accommodation
Crinan boasts one of Scotland's finest hotels, the Crinan Hotel, Tel. +44 (0)1546 830261, Fax. 830292, Not only is this one of the most beautifully located hotels in the country, but its celebrated restaurants are amongst the best on the west coast. The bar next to the Lock 16 restaurant on the top floor offers cheaper lunches, for those who can't afford such indulgence. A cheaper B&B alternative is Tigh-Na-Glaic, Tel. +44 (0)1546 830245, Fax. 830243