What has happened in 2016?

The newsletter for Caledonian Discovery.


Once again thanks to the good company and enthusiasm of all our guests, we have had another very enjoyable season. Apart from the unusually strong winds in the early part of the year and the occasional day, or two, of overcast weather, the Caledonian Canal and the Great Glen displayed its natural beauty, which amazes us every year.

“What has 2017 in store for Caledonian discovery?

We have adapted one of our established cruises “Trails and Glens biking” into what is a new idea for Scotland but well established in Europe, our “Bike and Barge” week.  You travel through the Great Glen with a combination of the best of intermediate cycling with barge cruising. Carefully chosen routes will cover a variety of terrains from smooth cycle tracks and forest trails to quiet back roads – perfect conditions for our high quality hybrid bikes.

Each day’s ride will be led by our experienced guide, providing stories and information along the way and offering places to visit to suit the interests and requirements of our guests. Daily distances vary from 7-18 miles (11-29 km), allowing plenty of time to explore and relax.  At any point of the journey, guests are very welcome to stay on board and enjoy cruising on the barge.

2017 also marks the 195th year of the Caledonian Canal.  The canal was conceived as a way of providing much-needed employment to the Highland region and to provide a safer passage from the north east of Scotland to the south west. First surveyed in 1773 by James Watt, the idea only came to life when an Act of Parliament, in 1803, was awarded and the digging started.  Finally opening in 1822, 12 years later than anticipated, it cost £910,000, and employed over 3,000 local people in its construction.

As important 2017 also marks the 55th year of the building of Ros Crana in Tielrode, Belgium.(1962)

Since her introduction to the fleet she has provided a wonderful, stable platform to provide all that Caledonian Discovery has to offer. We have found some people prefer Ros Crana over Fingal and vice versa. They each have a unique character, but which ever barge people declare their loyalty to, it is resolute!



Our 2018 schedule

We are pleased to announce our 2018 cruise schedule is now available for your perusal. We have retained our prices to what we believe is wonderful value for money. Four or seven days cruising in the Highlands of Scotland with access to activities, scenery, fun and adventures, with delicious food and the company of like-minded souls, it is a great way to relax.

If you are planning a family holiday please remember the barge is an ideal way to celebrate a family holiday or a group reunion. It is always available, dates permitting, for charter. Imagine, visiting this beautiful part of the Highlands, unpacking only once, all meals provided and the only stressful decision is deciding whether to go walking cycling, canoeing or heaven forbid relaxing. All the time surrounded and supported by your friends and family. As described by one of our guests “The Great Glen, a place for peace and adventure.” Please remember, if you book before the 31st of January we are offering an attractive discount for our 2017 and 2018 cruises. Please check our availability page.

New logo.

We hope you like our new Logo. Our previous logo was developed in 2005 and with the arrival of our new barge Ros Crana in 2013 we decided it was time for a new logo.  We have slowly introduced our new design this year and hope you approve.


Staff for the season

For 2016 we were fortunate to have many staff returning for another season, willing to share their professionalism, enthusiasm, wisdom and wit.

Martin, the Admiral, was there reassuring everybody it will be fine and it was.
Swampy, as always positive and whatever the decision, it would be ‘fantastic’ and it was.
Pete, always calm, whose predictions were precise and clear with the result it happened.
Adam, who after learning the ropes over the years became a skipper. Chuffed, he certainly is.
Gwyn, who skippered for a short period as he was to become a grandfather and now he is.
Don, who was only on for a week, who said it will probably rain and crikey it certainly did.
Lucy, our engineering queen, who helmed the rib and arrested the barge in the locks, with ease.
Steve, who guided his groups in a manner similar to his appearance, properly, with a hint of style.
Chris, informative, helpful and with a style of leading from the front, only when it mattered.
Susie, always reassuring and caring with a natural understanding of people and the countryside.
Michael, who drove the minibus, was full of anecdotal stories which were all true, so he claims.

The new boys
Simon, Ros Crana’s chef, whose experience of barge cooking produced food so good you had to have seconds.
Kevin, our can do, biking chef on Fingal whose food was filling, flavoursome and for an Aberdonian, plentiful.
Robbie, our bosun, who fitted in with maturity and quiet ability, we were all impressed.

We would also like to wish Derek, the lock keeper at Cullochy, all the best for his retirement. He is one of the few lock keepers who has been working for Scottish Canals since Caledonian Discovery started, so we will miss his cheery welcome next year.


The Dark Mile

Early in 2016 we were asked to help in the production of a film called “Darling Hush”. This invitation included the use of both our barges. Ros Crana provided accommodation, catering and as the base for logistical support, while Fingal was transformed from a bright, colourful, welcoming barge to a black workboat, with a corrugated shed for a wheelhouse! Martin was a huge help to the filming through his local knowledge and was employed as a location manager. To round it off they were all fed by the unique and delicious culinary skills of Tree and Davey.  The film we believe will be released around New Year with a changed working title to “The Dark Mile” Keep your eyes peeled for some of the crew from Caledonian Discovery who are in the film. Can you work out which one possessed an “Equity card” before the filming started?

Winter Accommodation

Would a week or weekend away with friends and family at a very competitive rate be of interest? Over the winter months, up to the end of March, our barge Ros Crana is available for hire for £270 per night, for a minimum of two nights. This is available for a maximum of 12 people which works out at just under £23 per person, per night. It is also an ideal base if you know of anybody wishing to arrange an office team building event. With two large communal areas, the use of the galley and the cost including all linen and electricity it is a wonderful way to enjoy this part of the Highlands with friends or work colleagues.

If there are more than 12 of you wishing to participate in your event let us know.  With enough warning, so we can turn the heating on, we would be more than delighted to open up Fingal as extra space.


Over the year we asked our guests if they had any images of their time with us on their holiday. We have received some wonderful images and would like to share some of them with you on our Facebook page. From the beginning of November to the start of the new season we will publish twice a week a couple of images from our wonderful collection. So if you have supplied us with some images please take a look. You never know!



No Comments