The Caledonian Canal is one of the Highlands most popular visitor attractions with over 1,400 boats transiting the canal each year.
Maintenance of the lock gates is vital to maintain the navigation of this historic waterway and any failure during operation could lead serious health and safety implications. We have a variety of steel construction and timber construction gates along the network, many of which are now past the design life.
Scottish Canals have a prioritised asset management programme for all lock gates in Scotland, based on condition and risk. Fort Augustus has been identified as priority for gate replacement due to condition, age and criticality.
Design works for the replacement gates have been to maximise the ability to adjust the fitting of the gates and also reduce the maintenance burden on the gates. The gates and walkways have been fabricated and we are now working on a project to install them.
UPDATE 16th May 2019
Please note that there will be planned diving works taking place at Fort Augustus on Friday 24th May from midday to 5.30pm.
The works will then commence at Kytra locks on Saturday 25th May from 8am to midday. Please note that all boat movements will be suspended during the diving work, which are an essential follow up to the works which took place during winter 2018/19.
UPDATE 13th May 2019
Please note that due to the recent weather conditions, the Fort Augustus Road Bridge was unavailable for swings for canal traffic as of 10.30 yesterday. BEAR Scotland and the local teams are working hard to find a long term solution, and in the meantime there will be at least two swings per day to let boat traffic through. Your patience is appreciated during this time, and updates will be posted on our website and social media.
UPDATE 17th April 2019
Good news, folks – the Caledonian Canal has reopened to sea-to-sea boat traffic!
20th March 2019
Engineers working on the £5.3m lock gate replacement works at Kytra and Fort Augustus have recently encountered some unexpected issues with the historic fabric of the lock chambers. Unfortunately, despite 7 days a week working and additional manpower and resources, it will now not be possible to meet the originally planned 8th April re-opening date for Kytra and Fort Augustus. With intensive input from our own teams and our contractors, we now expect Kytra and Fort Augustus locks to re-open to boat traffic at 8.30am on Wednesday 17th April 2019.
Whilst other areas of the canal remain unaffected and will be operational from 25th March, 7 days a week, 8.30am – 5.30pm, sea to sea transits will not be possible until Wednesday 17th April 2019.
We would like to apologise for the disruption that this change in programme will undoubtedly cause our boating customers and would like to thank them for their understanding in what has been a challenging engineering project.
Update 8th February
A 250ft crane is required to life the existing lock gates out ready for the new gates to be fitted.
200 year old masons marks uncovered at lock chamber 4.
Update 31st January
A temporary fabric dam is now in place to allow dry lock flight chamber working. The timber stop plank cill can be seen behind the dam.
Update 23rd January
As part of the ongoing works to install a new pair of lock gates at Fort Augustus, there will be a road closure for 5 days from the 30th January. The diagram below shows the approximate position of the crane, and the road will be closed to traffic between the orange lines at the top and bottom of the road.
Update 15th January
Works have begun to install a new pair of lock gates at lock 2 and improve the buoyancy at lock gates 3 and 4. The water levels have been dropped between Cullochy Lock to the bottom of Fort Augustus Lock Flight and works are in progress to install localised dams and maintain the low water level. Fish are being safely moved to watered sections of the canal.
Update 12th December
Following detailed inspections of the location, we are now looking to install a new pair of lock gates in Fort Augustus at lock 2 and undertake buoyancy improvement works at gates 3 and 4. Works are planned to start on 14th January and last for three months. To ensure lifting equipment can safely access the site, we need to close the south side road to traffic during these dates. The towpath will remain open to cyclists and walkers during these works.
Update 23rd November
Transport Scotland have announced an additional £5.35 million of capital funding to undertake a number of projects across the network, including the replacement of the lock gates at Fort Augustus.
Update 25th October
In preparation for winter engineering works and to facilitate a full diving inspection of the lock chambers and gates, Fort Augustus lock flight will be closed to boat traffic from Wednesday 31st October, re-opening at 1pm on Friday 2nd November. The local lock keeping team will work hard to minimise disruption to vessels but boaters are asked to please plan their journeys accordingly.