Spean Bridge

This community has been established at the point where the Fort William to Inverness road crosses the River Spean. This crossing was first bridged by General Wade in 1737, however the bridge that now crosses the Spean is slightly to the east and was constructed by Telford in 1819. The village grew up round this crossing and the junction with the road NE to Badenoch and Speyside.

Just to the west of the village and at the junction to Gairlochy and Bunarkaig is the Memorial to the Commando Regiment.

This memorial is to commemorate the Commandos who died in training for World War II. This training was carried out in the area and the camp was at Achnacarry close to Bunarkaig. The training was sometimes carried out using live ammunition and for some it was the place of their wartime sacrafice.

Achnacarry is also the location of the Clan Cameron Museum. This reflects on the Clan and the Jacobite connections, but there are also photographs and reminders of the link with the Commando Basic Training Centre.

Commando Memorial

Commando Memorial outside Spean Bridge

Caledonian Canal

This is the most northerly of the canals in Britain and is unusual in so far as it was built as the first nationalised transport project, and it was constructed as a ship canal. The canal was designed to carry vessels of up to 500 tons from the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea and then onwards to the Baltic. It removed for the cargo and Royal Navy ships the hazards of the Pentland Firth.


Leisure craft on the Caledonian Canal

The canal was build between 1803 and 1822 by Thomas Telford and William Jessop. The design was for a canal to link the Great Glen Lochs with a 20 foot deep and 110 feet wide canal. This canal is 60 miles in length but only 22 miles of it are man made, the rest using Lochs Lochy , Loch Oich, Loch Ness and the small Loch Dochfour.

The maximum height of the canal is 106 feet above sea level this being at Loch Oich, the other lochs, Ness and Dochfour being at 51 feet and Lochy at 93 feet. In total there are 29 locks, 15 to the south of Loch Oich and 14 to the north.

Although the canal is still used for trading activity, the main traffic is now leisure and in the summer months it is busy with a variety of craft.


This small community is on the Fort Augustus to Drumnadrochit road at the head of Glen Moriston. Glen Moriston is to the west and south west of the village and the River Moriston flows along the glen before falling over some attractive falls at the bridges of Invermoriston.

There are two bridges crossing the Moriston River, the original designed by Thomas Telford and built in 1805. This bridge took over 8 years to build due to escalating costs, and it seems to have been doomed to difficult with it being finally replaced in 1954 by the current road bridge, after suffering flood damage three years earlier.

This area is also know for the "Seven Men of Moriston". In 1746 they guarded Bonnie Prince Charlie from the Red Coats following the Battle of Culloden. The success in hiding the Prince was also assisted by the martordom of Roderick Mackenzie, a Jacobite that strongly resembled the Prince and who was identified in Glenmoriston. The Duke of Cumberland's men cornered the supposed Prince and after resisting capture Mackenzie was finally shot, thereby buying time for the real Prince to make his escape.

Invermoriston Bridge

Old Bridge at Invermoriston over the River Morsiton

Spean Bridge to Fort Augustus Railway

Rail Bridge

Railway bridge and support on banks of Loch Oich

The old railway line is part of the way along the eastern banks of Loch Oich. This line can also be seen on the earlier section of the route when looking across Loch Lochy.

The route lasted until 1911 and then had a further short reprieve until 1946.

In addition to the bridges there is a tunnel section closer to Aberchalder and its decorative entrance from the north is still to be seen from the walk.

To view other interest sections click History Section - Great Glen, History - Chronology of Scottish Monarchs, News Section - Great Glen.

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