Scotland’s canals to benefit from over £19m in improvements

Over £19m of improvement works are set to get underway across Scotland’s canals this winter.

The capital investment from Scottish Government will see major works and essential upgrades take place throughout the canal network. This planned investment is part of Scottish Canals’ Asset Management Strategy 2018-30, which prioritises improvements on all canal infrastructure in Scotland, based on condition and risk.

Around £4m will be spent on improvements on the Caledonian Canal, which contributes £15m to the local economy in the Highlands. Key works include the replacement of Gairlochy top lock gates at Lock 17, which are the largest gates on the whole canal network in Scotland.

“The lock gates at Gairlochy have been welcoming our boating customers and creating a barrier against Loch Lochy for over 30 years and, as they reach the end of their life expectancy, it is vital we work to improve these heritage assets so we may safeguard them for another generation,” says Catherine Topley, chief executive at Scottish Canals.

“The Caledonian Canal welcomes over 1,400 boats each year and supports the Highland economy. By investing in our assets throughout the canal, we are not only improving the canal infrastructure, we are investing in the local area and ensuring the waterway can bring tourism for many years to come.”

Works to install the new pair of lock gates will take place from November 2020 to March 2021.

Throughout the winter, £3.7m will be spent upgrading Lock Gates 1-4 and improving numerous bridges on the Crinan Canal. In addition, surveys will be undertaken to assess the remaining gates on the Crinan Canal, which are deemed priority for replacement due to age and risk.

Within the capital investment, £1m has been dedicated to dredging in both Highland canals, whereas on the Union Canal, £6.25m has been granted to reinstate the canal and towpath at Muiravonside following a major breach in August 2020.

Towpath at Muiravonside

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