£1.5 million project set to transform gateway to Crinan Canal

The story of ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’ and the ancient coastal kingdom of Dalriada is set to be brought to life thanks to a £1.5 million project to create a new heritage and community hub at the gateway to the Crinan Canal in Ardrishaig.

The Scottish Canals-led partnership project will see the transformation and extension of a historic, disused building – known locally as the ‘Egg Shed’ – into a bespoke interpretation centre telling the story of the canal and the communities on its banks. From its role in the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada to the tale of Queen Victoria’s journey along the Crinan Canal, the new centre will allow visitors to step into the unique history of Mid-Argyll via an array of interactive exhibits and interpretation material.

As well as the creation of the interpretation attraction, the revamped Egg Shed project includes space for community activities that could include everything from art installations to pop-up exhibitions and opportunities for social enterprises and community groups. An array of public realm and access improvements also form part of the project, with plans to create new viewpoints and walkways around the building and new access connections with Ardrishaig. The works, which form the first phase of the redevelopment of the former Gleaner Oil depot in the area, are expected to be complete by early 2019.

Christopher Breslin, Head of Regeneration and Development at Scottish Canals, said: “Over the past few years, we’ve worked with our partners and the local community to develop a shared vision for the future of the Crinan Canal corridor. This project marks the latest stage in the delivery of those grand ambitions and the transformation of Ardrishaig into an attractive leisure, tourism and maritime hub.”

The redevelopment of the Egg Shed will help deliver a sustainable future for Ardrishaig, creating a fantastic tourist destination and a vital community resource that will bring jobs and economic benefits to the area. We’re grateful to our funders and the local community for their support and look forward to welcoming them to the new hub in early 2019.

Christopher Breslin, Head of Regeneration and Development at Scottish Canals

The project is funded by the Scottish Government and the European Community Argyll and the Islands LEADER 2014-2020 programme; the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund; Argyll and Bute Council’s Tarbert & Lochgilphead Regeneration Fund; SUSTRANS Community Links Fund; Shanks Argyll & Bute and Argyll & Bute Council through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund; and Ardrishaig Community Trust.  A local contractor TSL, based in Oban, successfully won the contract for the project and begins work on site this week (week commencing 15th April).

Aileen Morton, Policy Lead for Economic Development at Argyll & Bute Council, said: “It’s great that Ardrishaig is another step closer to having the community and business resource its residents want.  The redevelopment of this site is all about working with the local community to create jobs and boost the local economy and the project was championed by local people. The council has agreed to contribute up to a quarter of a million pounds to make this project possible, as part of our wider work to regenerate the Mid-Argyll area.”

Scottish Canals and Argyll & Bute Council held a series of collaborative design workshops, known as a ‘charrette’, in 2016 to help shape the future of the Crinan Canal corridor. Supported by technical experts and designers, the sessions generated a number of ideas and proposals to help maximise the tourism, leisure and business opportunities offered by the canal and ensure the long-term future of Ardrishaig, Crinan and Lochgilphead. The regeneration of the former Gleaner Oil depot in Ardrishaig, of which the Egg Shed forms a key part, was one of the key priorities identified by the community.

More information on the Crinan charrette can be found at:  https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/placemaking/crinan-corridor/

Notes to Editors

About Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel.

As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for bridges, buildings, locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day.

The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles.

The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22 million visits per year. See scottishcanals.co.uk for more information.

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