The Fingal of Caledonia

It was one of those perfect ‘at the right place at just the right time’ moments. Mr. C and I were driving south on Scotland’s A82 on our way to Invergarry Castle when we came to the Aberchalder Swing Bridge on the Caledonian Canal. As we crossed over, we noticed that there was an interesting looking barge approaching in the distance.

A barge called the Fingal of Caledonia sailing on the Caledonian Canal

We were quite curious about it, so we pulled off at the Bridge of Oich car park a short way away and scuttled back to the bridge to get a closer look. By then, the safety gates had been lowered and all traffic temporarily halted.

A swing bridge on the Caledonian Canal
The swing bridge is open so the barge can pass.

The colorful boat turned out to be the ‘Fingal of Caledonia’, one of two holiday barges run by a company called Caledonian Discovery.

The Final of Caledonia barge

I was not familiar with the company at the time, but I have since looked over their web site and the cruising holidays that they offer look intriguing – especially the “Walk the Great Glen” package. Over a week, you walk seventy-eight miles (I know, right?) through the gorgeous Great Glen, retreating to the barge each evening. If we EVER get to travel to Scotland again (thank you, Covid, and people who refuse to wear masks), then who knows, maybe this is something we’ll look into.

A man standing on a barge on the Caledonian Canal

“Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew!

And, gentle lady, deign to stay!

Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,

Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.

-from The Lay of the Last Minstrel: Canto VI, by Sir Walter Scott

Mr. C and I stood and watched as the barge passed through the open canal bridge, marveling at the technology.

The Fingal of Caledonia passing through a bridge
The Fingal of Caledonia passing through a bridge

Soon the ‘Fingal of Caledonia’ was on its merry way, and so were we.

The Fingal of Caledonia on the Caledonian Canal

One thought on “The Fingal of Caledonia

  • Thank you for this, we didn’t see this as we drove through there last year. Perhaps we were too focused on our destination — the same as yours! We had only just arrived that afternoon in Scotland for the first time in our lives and were meeting family in Glengarry Castle Hotel. We were also in search of Scottish castles from the fifteenth century, the family had organised some tours for us. So imagine my shock when we drove into the grounds of Glengarry Castle Hotel and saw Invergarry Castle!

    I remember crossing this swing bridge but so much of what we were seeing was so new and exciting that if we’d stopped to look more, we’d not have got to our destination before dark.

    So many wonderful memories. Thank you!

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