Telford's plan, to connect Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy with each other and the sea, was a huge undertaking which brought civil engineering to the Highlands on a heroic scale. Deep in the Highlands, far from the canal network of England, engineers forged their way through the Great Glen to construct the biggest canal of its day: twenty-two miles of artificial cutting and no fewer than twenty-eight locks.
This book has long been recognised as the authoritative work on the canal as well as a reliable and useful guide to the surrounding area. There are intriguing old plans, not discovered until 1992, and a survey of the dramatic rise in pleasure-craft traffic during the last two decades. But the highlight of the recent past was undoubtedly the Tall Ships passing through the canal in stately procession in 1991. Impossible, then, not to feel the fascination of this beautiful waterway: a working piece of industrial history and a remarkable engineering achievement.