The Caledonian Canal is one of the Highlands most popular visitor attractions with over 1,400 boats transiting the canal each year.

The Gairlochy top gates at Lock 17 are the largest on the Caledonian Canal, as they form part in the flood defence mechanism separating Loch Lochy from the canal infrastructure and communities west of this point. The gates are over 30 years old and therefore based on age, condition and risk, are considered a priority for replacement.

As a first phase towards their replacement, diver surveys were undertaken to collect the exact measurements and assess all structural elements’ condition to provide all required information for the design of new steel lock gates. This phase was completed in our 2019/20 works programme.

In our 2020/21 winter stoppage programme, we will progress with the fabrication of the new lock gates and their installation. In order to undertake these works, two temporary cofferdams will be installed at Gairlochy; one upstream of Gairlochy Top Lock and the second downstream Gairlochy. The canal between these two temporary dams will be fully dewatered to allow safe dry working conditions.

Update 5 March 2021

Works are ongoing at Gairlochy and we are pleased to share that the lock chamber is being inspected and prepared for the lift in of the lock gates. The monumentous size of the chambers can be seen in the images below.

1st October 2020

To ensure the safety of the construction site and the efficiency of water control requirements, the canal level will have to be lowered by 0.5m. This will affect the reach between Gairlochy and the top of the Banavie flight. This temporary reduction in the canal level will commence Monday 2nd November 2020 and will last for the duration of the works. The works are estimated to be completed by the end of March 2021.

During the works, the canal will be closed to navigation within the restricted by the temporary dams area. Additionally, there may be restrictions on the towpath around the two Gairlochy locks. Appropriate diversions will be put in place where required.

This page will be updated as works progress.