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Inverness, Caledonian Canal, Clachnaharry

Canal (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Inverness, Caledonian Canal, Clachnaharry

Classification Canal (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 105851

Site Number NH64NW 30

NGR NH 6488 4656

NGR Description NH 6499 4647 to NH 6445 4675

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Inverness And Bona
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH64NW 30.00 6499 4647 to 6445 4675

NH64NW 30.01 Centred NH 6487 4656 Hand Cranes

NH64NW 30.02 NH 6488 4656 Works Lock

NH64NW 30.03 NH 6481 4661 to NH 6451 4672 Sea-lock Basin

NH64NW 30.04 NH 6488 4659 Workshops

NH64NW 30.05 NH 6490 4652 Crab Winch

NH64NW 30.06 NH 6498 4503 Burnfoot Basin

NH64NW 30.07 NH 6498 4504 Burnfoot Basin, Jetty

NH64NW 30.08 NH 6495 4501 Burnfoot Basin, Boathouse

NH64NW 30.09 NH 6490 4652 Capstan

For Clachnaharry Sea-lock (adjacent to NW), see NH64NW 28.00.

For associated canal offices (NH 64943 46439) and Telford commemorative plaque, see NH64NW 86.

The Canal was authorised by Parliament in 1803, and was begun under T Telford as principal engineer with W Jessup as consultant. The terminal works consisted of a sea-lock (NH64NW 28.00) at Clashnaharry [Clachnaharry], giving access to a lower basin (NH64NW 30.03), and from this a second lock (NH64NW 30.02) led into Muirtown basin (NH64NE 120.00), which is shown on the plan published by the Harbour Commissioners as measuring about 900yds (822.6m) in length by up to 200yds (183m) in breadth. It was intended primarily to serve the Inverness trade, and the New Statistical Account notes that ships too large to negotiate the estuary were worked from the Canal's wharves. The basin was almost completed by 1807, but difficulties encountered in the building of the sealock delayed progress until 1811, and the canal as a whole was not opened until 1822. Large scale repairs became necessary in 1843, and the waterway was finally reopened only in 1847.

A Graham and J Gordon 1988.

During March 1999, RCAHMS conducted a photographic survey of the standing industrial heritage relating to the swing bridges, canal locks over the Caledonian Canal and the nearby railway architecture in Inverness, Clachnaharry and environs. The purpose of this survey was to enhance and augment the existing holdings of the National Monuments Record Scotland.

Visited by RCAHMS (MKO), September 1997.

The Caledonian Canal was built between 1804-22. The engineer was Thomas Telford. It has subsequently been much re-altered. Was designed as a ship canal with locks measuring 40ft by 170ft (12.2m by 51.8m).

Information taken from Hume, 1977.

The stretch between the Beauly Firth and Loch Ness was constructed between 1803-18. At the Clachnaharry end of the canal an artificial penisular carries the canal into the deep water of the Beauly Firth.

Information taken from Gifford, 1992.

Caledonian Canal.

CFA/MORA Coastal Assessment Survey 1998

On this map sheet the canal heads NW out of the Muirtown Basin (NH64NE 120.00) and out into the Beauly Firth through the Clachnaharry Sea Lock Basin (NH64NW 30.03) and the Clachnaharry Sea Lock (NH64NW 28.00).

Information from RCAHMS (MD) 4 October 2001.


Field Visit (8 May 2013 - 8 May 2013)

Canal at Clachnaharry - NH64NW 30.00

This stretch of the canal, which is the most northerly part of the canal before it enters the Beauly Firth, is aligned ESE-WNW and is roughly 600m in length. It comprises two locks, the Clachnaharry Sea Lock (NMRS No – NH64NW 28.00) and the Clachnaharry Works Lock (NMRS No – NH64NW 30.02) with the Sea Lock Basin (NMRS No – NH64NW 30.03) in-between the two.

The railway crosses the canal just to the north of the Works Lock and the old fishertown of Clachnaharry which predates the canal is just to the west. The Sea Lock Basin and Sea Lock with the Lock keepers House project into the Beauly Firth and form a prominent landmark. This part of the canal is interesting and picturesque and frequented by sight-seers, walkers and bikers.

Visited by the Scottish Canals Recording Project (DF) 8 May 2013


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