Laggan Locks on the Caledonian Canal

Written by Chris Thornton | 23rd of September 2023
Laggan Locks

Laggan Locks are a series of water lock gates on the Caledonian Canal between Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. Boats travelling from the northeast side arrive at a water level of 35 metres above sea level (the highest stretch of the Caledonian Canal). They are lowered through the locks to the lower water level at Loch Lochy.

It's a fascinating spot with a little bit of everything: scenery, boats using the locks, the site of a historic battle and a floating cafe!

Caledonian Canal

The Caledonian Canal is a beautiful 60-mile waterway that cuts directly through the Great Glen and connects the Scottish east coast to the west coast. Completed in 1822 by renowned engineer Thomas Telford, it was considered an engineering marvel. It offered a safer alternative to sailing around the treacherous seas of north Scotland - particularly, the Pentland Firth.

Although the route is man-made, only around one-third of it was built; the rest is part of Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy, with 29 locks.

Caledonian Canal, Laggan Swing Bridge
Drone view of the Caledonian Canal.

Loch Lochy & Loch Oich

In calm weather, Loch Oich north of Laggan Locks and Loch Lochy to the south is likely the fastest part of the Caledonian Canal due to their width and depth.

Loch Lochy - 16 km long / 1 km wide / 162 m deep.
Loch Oich - 6.5 km long / 1 km side / 47 m deep.

Both lochs are used by Atlantic salmon each autumn as spawning nests.

Well of the Seven Heads

On the west bank of Loch Oich, there is an interesting monument called the "Well of the Seven Heads". This grisly monument shows a hand holding a dagger atop seven severed heads. The monument marks the spot where seven murderers were beheaded in the mid-1600s.

Well of the Seven Heads statue. Aberchalder Swing Bridge.
Well of the Seven Heads, a creepy statue to say the least!

Eagle Barge Floating Pub / Cafe

Looking for a unique place to have some food or try a variety of Scottish whiskies? - Give the Eagle Barge Inn a try! Floating on the Caledonian Canal just north of Laggan Locks on the east side, this converted Dutch barge offers a unique experience.

Open April to October, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Check their menu here.

Eagle Barge Inn
Interior of the Eagle Barge Inn.
Eagle Barge Inn
The Eagle Barge Inn on the water near Laggan Locks.

The Great Glen Way

Laggan Locks is located on the Great Glen Way, a popular walk from Inverness to Fort William, encompassing 118.5km of tracks. The walk connects the northeast coast to the west coast of Scotland and follows the Gren Glen fault line.

Stage 2 Gairlochy to Laggan, a 19 km stretch of the Great Glen Way, is where Laggan Locks can be found. Crossing the canal by using the lock gates when they are closed is possible.

Battle of the Shirts

A famous Scottish battle was fought near Laggan Locks in July 1544.

The Battle of the Shirts occurred between Ranald Gallda and his nephew John of Moidart, who would become the chief of the powerful Macdonald clan.

It's said the weather was so warm that both sides removed their plaids and fought only wearing their shirts, giving the battle its name. Although John of Moidart won the day, it was a very bloody battle with many deaths on both sides, turning the waters of the loch deep red. John would be clan chief until his death in 1574.

Eagle Barge Inn
Information board near Laggan Locks with battle info and Great Glen Way route.

How to get to Laggan Locks

Laggan Locks can be found just off the A82.

From Spean Bridge: Travel north on the A82, passing the Commando Memorial. The road will follow along the east side of Loch Lochy; towards the end of the loch, look for a left turn with a sign marked Laggan Locks. Continue along the minor road until you reach your destination.

Public transport is available with a bus stop available on the A82 a short distance from the Laggan Locks exit on the A82.

Grid Reference: NN 286963
What3words: ///cheetahs.loud.desiring

Staying near Laggan Locks

Glamping pods are available to the west at Glengarry Lodges or the Great Glen Hostel to the north if you fancy staying the night.

Is there a car park at Laggan Locks?

Limited parking is available for about 7 or 8 cars.

Laggan Locks while closed. South Laggan.
Laggan Locks.


Laggan Locks is a great place to stop for a rest and some food on your journey through the Scottish Highlands when travelling north from Spean Bridge to Fort Augustus. Check out the passing boats, the clever lock system and the charming floating pub.

Laggan Locks location map

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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