The Caledonian fault has only been used for transport since the beginning of the 19th century. Thomas Telford set to work on the canal in 1803 and it was finally completed in 1849. As a result, shipping was spared the hazardous northern route through the Pentland Forth between the Scottish mainland and the Orkneys. Since then, the rail and road network has carried most of the east-west freight but a number of small vessels ply up and down the canal.
Each of the eight locks of the Caledonian Canal, known collectively as Neptune's Staircase, overcame a difference of 8ft/2.44m - a great technological feat at the time. The canal starts in the west at Fort William and ends in the east at Inverness.
The road from Fort William to Inverness (A82) offers a splendid panorama of the Caledonian fault. The stretch as far as Spean Bridge affords many superb views of the northern side of Ben Nevis. More feats of engineering were required when water from Loch Treig was diverted to generate electricity. Spean Bridge makes an excellent base for walks through the Glen Roy nature reserve. "Parallel Roads", as the terraces which run along the slope are called, indicate the various levels reached by the water of a Pleistocene lake which was dammed up by Ice Age glaciers.
Loch Ness has become world famous for the alleged Loch Ness monster which is said to reside in the lake.
Loch Arkaig, Loch Lochy
North of Gairlochy, where a byroad forks off west to Loch Arkaig, the main highway follows Loch Lochy past caves where "Bonnie Prince Charlie" sought refuge after defeat at Culloden.
Achnacarry - Clan Cameron Museum
The Clan Cameron Museum presents the history of the clan and its role in the 1745 uprising. Exhibits include artifacts and memorabilia of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and the Commandos who trained at Achnacarry.
Well of Seven Heads
On the west bank of Loch Oich near a spring known as Tobar nan Ceann stands a remarkable memorial to a bloody incident that took place in the 17th century. Seven brothers were executed for the deaths of two members of the Keppoch family. Their heads were washed in the spring before being presented to the clan chief.
Invergarry is another good base for hill walkers and also a popular center for anglers. It is here that the A87, the panoramic "Road to the Isles", branches off via Loch Garry and Loch Duich to the Kyle of Lochalsh where ferries cross to Skye.
This riding center offers treks through remote Highland glens and mountain passes on the Scottish West Coast. Icelandic horses are used for the treks. They are known to be small, strong and kind-natured. Rides are usually 200 kilometers or more.