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Caledonian Canal, Torcastle Aqueduct

Aqueduct (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Caledonian Canal, Torcastle Aqueduct

Classification Aqueduct (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Caledonian Canal, Shangan Aqueduct

Canmore ID 23705

Site Number NN17NW 13

NGR NN 13182 79159

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmallie
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

BANAVIE TO ACHNACARRY An excellent view of the Caledonian Canal as it runs parallel to the River Lochy is gained from the B8004, between Banavie and Gairlochy. Beyond the forestry plantations to its south, the West Highland Railway follows the route of the A82, where stretches of Wade's military road are still in evidence. These three feats of engineering transformed the landscape and significance of the Great Glen over two centuries, and revolutionised communications and travel in the Highlands. Notable along this stretch, and all engineered by Thomas Telford, mostly c.1815, are: Torcastle Aqueduct over Allt Sheangain, one of several aqueducts along this stretch (see also those at Mount Alexander and Strone), with three 24 0 ft-long parallel tunnels - two waterways and one narrow roadway - all beautifully finished inside with ashlar paving stones. Telford's hump-backed Bridge at Strone, 1803/4, carried the Parliamentary road over the River Loy. Bridge Keeper's Cottage, Moy, solitary beside the canal with windows in each gable to command views in both directions. It guards the only original surviving swing bridge, which is still hand operated using the old winch mechanism.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NN17NW 13 13182 79159

Tunnels [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1975.

See also NN17SW 11.00 and NN17SW 12.

This aqueduct over the Seangan Burn is inaccurately known as Telfer Tunnels. The arches of the aqueduct carry the burn under the canal (NN17NW 11.00), although one arch, originally intended for use by farm carts, enables motor vehicles to pass under the canal. It is one of the most significant aqueducts on this waterway.

G Hutton 1992.

This feature, enabling the Allt Sheangain to pass under the canal, is marked as 'Tunnels' on the 2nd edition of the OS 6-inch map (Invernesss-shire 1903, sheet cxxxix), on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1975) and on the OS Basic Scale raster map (ND).

Information from RCAHMS (MD) 30 August 2001.


Publication Account (1808)

Shangan Aqueduct/Torcastle Aqueduct

One of five constructed by Simpson & Wilson by 1808 on the 6-mile reach of canal between Banavie Locks and Loch Lochy. The Shangan Aqueduct of similar construction to Loy Aqueduct (NN18SW 3.01) had and still has three spans of 10 ft. Bothwere rebuilt as part of the 1843–47 re-furbishment.

This work was done as a precautionary measure after the Upper Banavie Aqueduct, 12 miles south of Shangan, had collapsed in 1843 emptying this reach of the canal.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.


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