The end of Leg 3, descending Neptune’s staircase

Leg 3 of the Sail for Macmillan came to an end with a long slow descent of Neptune’s Staircase. This is a dramatic eight lock flight overlooked by Ben Nevis, that raises vessels to a height of 70 feet above sea level, and takes boats about 90 minutes to pass through the system. It is situated in the small village of Banavie, just north of Fort William where the Caledonian Canal meets the sea at Loch Linnhe.

This remarkable feat of engineering was built by Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822 and at over a quarter of a mile it is the longest staircase lock in Britain. This is also one of the best viewpoints available for the dark north west side of Ben Nevis, and its 2,000 foot cliffs are an enthralling distraction for those using the lock flight.

Fort William is a town in the western Scottish Highlands, on the shores of Loch Linnhe. It’s known as a gateway to Ben Nevis, the U.K.’s highest peak, and Glen Nevis valley, home to Steall Falls. The nearby Nevis Range Mountain Resort has ski runs and forest trails. In the town centre, the West Highland Museum focused on regional life and history. To the northeast, Ben Nevis Distillery explores whisky production.

After a late lunch the afternoon was spent enjoying ice cream (for some) and an afternoon sleep for others.

The last evening as a crew was spent at the Lochy public house, near Fortwilliam, enjoying a pub meal together.

Anyone interested in taking part in a Sail for Macmillan should contact Colin and Jan of Premier Sailing, who will be happy to share more details and if you wish you may express an interest in taking part in 2018, without obligation.

Donations to support the cause may be given to the Just Giving page.

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