Highland Canals Receive £1 Million Dredging Funding This Winter

The first phase of major improvement works along the Crinan Canal gets underway this winter, with £3.7 million investment to replace gates in the eastern section.

The Scottish Government has awarded £1 million of additional funding to Scottish Canals to undertake vital dredging works in the Highlands this winter.

Dredging will take place across the Caledonian and Crinan Canals from January 2021, ensuring these working heritage structures remain vibrant and busy and continuing to support local jobs and businesses.

Some 20,000 tonnes of material is expected to be removed from the canal channel which will make the canals easier to navigate and better able to welcome boating customers from around the world.

“It is fantastic news that the Caledonian and Crinan canals will see an extra £1 million investment towards dredging.

“This funding is part of the Scottish Government’s £230 million Return to Work Package, which was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance in June, to mitigate some of the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the Scottish economy.

“This investment will encourage greater use of the canals – and with that greater use, bring various benefits to the West Coast and Highland economies.”

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Dredging will be carried out between Laggan Spout and Kytra throughout February and March 2021 ahead of the season which welcomes an average of 4,300 transits per year from countries across Europe, America and even Asia.

Andrew Thin, Chair of Scottish Canals, said: “As home of the Great Glen and Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal is one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, generating millions of pounds for the local economy each year and helping to sustain jobs and businesses along the waterway.

“To allow us to keep the canal in a fully operable condition, and continue delivering benefits to the local economy, the Scottish Government is providing us with the necessary funds to deliver much needed dredging works at Laggan over the coming months. This means we can continue to offer safe passage to vessels travelling coast to coast, whether they are transporting cargo or providing leisure and business travel for passengers.”

Works will commence at Ardrishaig Harbour on the Crinan Canal in January 2021 and will take place at locations along the length of the canal until March 2021.

This spend on dredging is part of a much wider investment in the Crinan Canal this winter, which also sees the replacement of lock gates one to four as well as improvements to existing bridge infrastructure at Cairnbaan, Oakfield and Crinan Ferry Bridge.

Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact:

Scott Lamond at Scottish Canals, on 07976524446 or email Scott.Lamond@scottishcanals.co.uk

Kimberley Manderson at Scottish Canals, on 07976526694 or email Kimberley.Manderson@scottishcanals.co.uk

Notes to the editor:

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. See www.ScottishCanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • 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
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See www.scottishcanals.co.uk for more information

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