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The Crinan Canal across the Kintyre Peninsula Scotland.
Researched and written by Jeannette Briggs
The Crinan Canal is one of the Scottish canals, which do not link up to the main UK network, but which enable Scottish canal enthusiasts to enjoy the pleasures of canal cruising and canal boat holidays. The Canal traverses the Kintyre peninsula from the Sound of Jura in the west to Lock Fyne in the east and has been called "the most beautiful short cut in Britain"! It was originally opened in 1801 and was intended to offer a safe passage for cargoes such as herring boats and other coastal shipping between the open waters of the Sound of Jura lashed by the Atlantic Ocean in winter and the relatively calm Loch Fyne. The canal was not properly finished until 1816 when the great civil engineer Thomas Telford redesigned whole sections. While the working boats have virtually disappeared from the Crinan Canal but it is well - used by those enjoying a canal boat holiday - even those new to canal boat hire.
The canal is very scenic and quite short, being only 9 miles long. At the Loch Fyne end (the southern end) the canal leaves the Loch and enters the sea lock at Adrishaig. This is a pretty little town which grew up as a direct result of the opening of the canal. Boats called "Clyde puffers" once regularly used the Crinan canal, and sometimes you can see one or two of these canal boat veterans moored up in the canal basin.
Five locks at Dunardry take the canal downwards - at Lock No. 11 you will find a rolling bridge which runs on rails and is hand operated. All around you are hills covered in trees, but you can also see Moine Mhor which is an area of open wetland bogs and a National Nature Reserve.
The next structure of note that you reach is Bellanoch Swing Bridge which carries a road across the canal and the Nature Reserve. Just beyond here is Bellanoch Marina, which is part of Bellanoch bay.
The Crinan has lots of visitors and canal boat holiday makers especially in the summer - not surprising really as the views all around you here are superb.
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