£20m improvement works underway across Scotland’s canals

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Canal lock
Locks at Gairlochy, Caledonian Canal will be the recipient of much of the funds. (Image supplied)

SCOTLAND’s canals are set to receive tens of millions of pounds worth of improvements thanks to a new scheme of works.

The capital investment from Scottish Government will see major repairs and essential
upgrades take place throughout winter.

£20 million will be spent on the network, in a bid to safeguard the heritage assets for the
future.

Around £4 million will be spent on improvements on the Caledonian Canal, which contributes £15 million to the local economy in the Highlands.

Key works here include the replacement of Lock 17 in Gairlochy, the largest top lock gates in Scotland.

Muiravonside breach
Muiravonside will also receive repairs after it was breached over the summer (Image supplied)

These gates are vital in the flood defence mechanism separating Loch Lochy from the canal
infrastructure and communities west of this point.

Catherine Topley, Chief Executive at Scottish Canals explained:“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.

“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, £3.7 million will also 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.

A further £1 million  has been dedicated to dredging in both Highland canals and £6.25 million has been granted to reinstate the Union Canal and towpath at Muiravonside following a major breach in August 2020.