Contact Bridge Upholstery on 07767318857.
Thank you all for making the boats welcome and enjoying the peaceful summer reaches of the Caledonian Canal.


Family Friendly Hourly Boat Hire


All safety equipment supplied.

Free Spirit Boat Hire are part of the Scottish Canals Neptunes Staircase Activity Hub and we were asked to offer a unique attraction that would open up the water for more new users than ever before.

Our hourly hire self-drive motor boats are now doing just that for visitors and local folk alike. Frequent user discounts apply for Lochaber residents

For an hour or two, we have opened up the previously inaccessible canal reaches between Bavavie and Gairlochy to folk just like us. 

  • Families with children keen to skipper a motor boat for the first time (and receive their "Free Spirit" badge)
  • Couples keen to glide romantically amid the scenic splendour of the iconic Caledonian Canal 's surrounding mountains.  
  • Friend groups taking a couple of boats for a touch of fun and perhaps a race, or a spot of trout fishing. 
  • Children's birthday party groups. 
  • School outdoor activity groups.

Hiring our safe, stable boats for all the reasons we exist; local activity for local folk, unique skippering experience, education, scenery, wildlife, responsibility to each other and definitely FUN.The canal banks ring with the laughter and waving of these groups especially. Eye-spy challenges and teacher's packs notwithstanding! 


The opportunities for a day out at Neptune's Staircase are extensive.

Thanks for Walks Around Britain, Stephen Wiseman and Scottish Waterways Trust for this video.


-A self-drive boating adventure with Free Spirit Hire Boats of course.

-Refreshments at the Moorings Hotel, at the canal side, next to the main car park.

-Kayak and bike hire from Rockhopper, half way up the lock flight.

-Steam Train, from Fort William to Mallaig.

-Or, some say you see more train this way; twenty minutes drive from Free Spirit Boat Hire a little further down the A830 towards Mallaig, 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.
There are also the Silver Sands, the gem and fossil place, iconic pubs, lead-free dog walks, scenic viewpoints and other ideas but you'll have to come up to our boats to ask us ;)

Opening hours

School Holidays:

7 days a week from 10am till 5 pm

Rest of the year:

Tours possibe by appointment, contact us to pre-book.

We can have boats ready for you very easily. "If we can, we will" 


Boat capacity


Family of 5

Subject to children`s size/age. Teenagers can skipper a second boat with parental oversight from the accompanying boat.

4 adults of average stature.

Children`s  birthday party / School Groups.

One adult and 4 or 5 children depending age/size.

We reserve the right to limit occupancy in the interests of safety.