Work on the Crinan Canal commenced in 1794 but the project was beset by financial and engineering problems and quickly had to be baled out by the Government. After this uncertain start the structural difficulties were addressed and traffic levels gradually increased. In 1847 Queen Victoria travelled along the canal on her way to a holiday in the Highlands, and following her patronage it became part of what tourist promoters billed as 'The Royal Route'. The short but scenic canal has been popular with tourists ever since, and as commercial traffic dwindled in the first half of the twentieth century yachts and pleasure cruisers replaced fishing boats and puffers. The route of the canal from Crinan to Ardrishaig is illustrated in a collection of pictures that feature both canal life and some of the small communities that once lay alongside it.