THE CALEDONIAN CANAL
Construction of a canal through the Great Glen – the natural fault line that almost cuts Scotland in two - had been proposed at various times during the 18th Century. However by 1800, the forced removal of much of the local Highland population to make way for more profitable sheep farming - events that would become known as the Highland clearances – led to serious concerns about the stability of the area and general agreement that infrastructure improvements were required.
It was these concerns that led renowned engineer Thomas Telford to visit the Highlands in 1801 and again in 1802 and to propose a link between Inverness in the East with Fort William in the West.
This proposal involved the construction of a series of manmade waterways & locks that would join together a series of natural lochs - Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy - in what we now know as the Caledonian Canal. A project that would eventually take 44 years to complete!