Free Spirit Boat Hire

Boat Tour

Banavie Basin, Top Lock, Neptunes Staircase, Caledonian Canal, Banavie, Fort William, Inverness-Shire, PH33 7LY

    Spend a spectacular day out with the Scottish Canals Neptune Staircase Activities and Free Spirit Boat Hire. We offer attractions for all the family in the Fort William area. Come and experience these Eco-friendly, silent, electric boats.

    Family Friendly Activity - Hourly Boat Hire

    Spend a spectacular day out with the Scottish Canals Neptune's Staircase Activity Hub and Free Spirit Boat Hire. This unique outdoor activity is here for all to experience.  All ages catered for and safety equipment supplied. A perfect introduction for children to steering and skippering a boat in safe sheltered waters of the Calednian Canal. 

    Set amid the unrivalled mountains of the Scottish Highlands, these Eco-friendly, silent running, electric powered motor boats are easy to drive and place you inside a 360 degree panorama of breath-taking beauty as Ben Nevis and other Munros in the Fort William area. It is easy to spot a deer, eagle, otter and other wildlife living near the waters while cruising between Top Lock Banavie Basin to Gairlochy.


    The opportunities for a day out at Neptune's Staircase are extensive.
    -A self-drive boating adventure with Free Spirit. 
    -Refreshments at the Moorings Hotel, at the canal side next to the car park.
    -Kayak and bike hire from Rockhopper, half way up the lock flight.
    -Harry Potters Steam Train, from Fort William to Mallaig. A day out in itself.
    -Or, twenty minutes drive from Free Spirit Boat Hire you could be watching the steam train glide over the now well know Harry Potter flying car bridge at Glenfinnan. (A perfect spot to view from above can be reached via the short path up the hillside to the left and behind the visitor centre there. The monument on the beach across the road is also a must-see. 
    Before or after all that you might ride the Gondola up to the Golden Goose Cafe at Nevis Ski Range. To mention but a few!

    Free Spirit Boat Hire operate from April to October. 7 days a week during Scottish and English school holidays.
    All week excluding Tuesday and Wednesday outside school holidays. And between October and March we are open for half-term school holidays. 

    Through the autumn and winter by appointment for families and groups and if the weather looks perfect! We'll be there. 

    Email or text to book or if you need confirmation of operations in very windy conditions or outside school holidays. We can have boats ready for you very easily.

    Phone Neil 07767318857



    Opening Times
    2015 Opening Times
    1 Apr 2015 - 31 Dec 2015

    We can offer out of hours trips and cater for groups at any time. Weather can affect operations. If in doubt phone 07767318857 for daily update on operational status.

    Ticket Information
    Price for a boat/h £25.00 per ticket

    Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.


    • Outdoor Play Area


    • Level Access
    • Picnic Area
    • Smoking Permitted
    • Smoking Restricted

    Leisure Facilities

    • Garden
    • Gift Shop
    • Outdoor Recreational Facilities

    Payment Methods

    • No credit cards accepted

    Tour Duration

    • Day Tour
    • Half-Day Tour
    • Multi-Day Tour

    Wedding Services

    • Accommodation Available


    • Public Toilet Facilities
    • Toilets

    Languages Spoken

    • German Speaking
    • Polish spoken
    • Spanish Speaking


    • Coastal Location
    • Lochside Location
    • Remote Location
    • Rural Location
    • Village Location
    • Waterfront Location

    Special Requirements

    • Children Welcome
    • Coach Parties Welcome
    • Dogs Welcome
    • Families
    • Groups Welcome
    • Hen/Stag Parties Welcome
    • Pets Allowed
    • Pets Welcome
    • Pets Welcome By Arrangement
    • School Groups Welcome
    • Senior Citizens
    • Young People


    • Accessible Parking or Drop Off Point
    • Coach Parking On-site
    • Cycle Hire Nearby
    • Free Parking Off-Site/Street
    • Free Parking On-Site
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Park and Ride
    • Parking
    • Public Parking Nearby

    Road Directions

    From Fort William, A82 towards Inverness. Outside town look for the Mallaig (Ben Nevis Distillery) roundabout A830, turning left. A mile out you cross the Caledonian Canal swing bridge. Turn next Right into 'Banavie' and park in main car park on your right after 200 mtrs. Walk up the spectaculat flight of 9 locks and find us above the top lock where the canal widens into Banavie Basin.

    Public Transport Directions

    There are many ways how to get to the Caledonian Canal Neptune Staircase and Free Spirit Boat Hire activity hub. A regular bus is departing every 15 min from the bus station in Fort William which will bring you all the way to Banavie. It is easy to catch one and get of at the Neptune Staircases and it will take you approximately 10 min. If you are on a car there is a big car park at the bottom of the canal just next to the Moorings Hotel. This car park is for free and is locad just 2 min away from our dock. If you take an easy walk up the canals you cant miss us. Dont worry even when you roll on a bicycle! There is a straight cycle path from Fort William towards the canals. After a boat ride you can even carry on cycling on the stuning Great Glen Way up North towards Gairlochy.

    Transport within Scotland

    For public transport information to visit here from within Scotland, enter your postcode and visit date below.

    Journey Planner


    • Parking provided for visitors
      • Parking on site
    • There is a drop-off point for guests immediately outside the main entrance

    This information is self-assessed; therefore we accept no liability for its accuracy. Please contact the venue for further information.


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