£3.7 million Investment Works Get Underway on the Crinan Canal

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 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.

This planned investment in the Crinan Canal is part of Scottish Canals’ Asset Management Strategy 2018-30, which prioritises improvements on all canal infrastructure in Scotland, based on condition and risk.

The full Crinan Canal has been identified as priority for gate replacement due to condition, age and criticality. Upgrading and replacement of the lock gates along the canal is vital to maintain the navigation of this historic waterway.

This year sees the first phase in an anticipated three-year programme of works on the Crinan Canal. The focus of the £3.7 million capital investment will allow us to improve the lock gates on the eastern section of the canal at Ardrishaig, safeguarding their operation for another 40 to 50 years.

We’re not only commencing lock gate replacement works this winter, we’re also investing in dredging and will be undertaking the survey and design works on the western section to secure the long term operation of the canal and ensure Britain’s most beautiful shortcut can be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Peter Robinson, Head of Engineering at Scottish Canals

Last year, initial surveys and design works were completed on the eastern section of the Crinan Canal, focusing on new steel gates for Locks 1 to 4. As part of Scottish Canals’ Asset Management Plan for 2019-22, the project is progressing with fabrication and installation of gates for this section of the canal.

Works will be undertaken by AmcoGiffen between November 2020 and March 2021, requiring a full canal closure and drain down of the whole eastern section of the Canal, from Lock 8 down to Sea Lock 1 in Ardrishaig.

Alan Boyle – Regional Managing Director (Scotland) for AmcoGiffen commented:

“We’re excited to continue our collaborative relationship with Scottish Canals in undertaking the lock refurbishment works along the picturesque Crinan Canal.

“In preparation, we’ve actively liaised with local stakeholders, and through detailed planning ensured that our commencement considers the safety and environmental sensitivities of working canal-side, whilst protecting the surrounding exquisite wildlife.

“Working in partnership with Scottish Canals, we hope to highlight the fantastic benefits of preserving one of Scotland’s most revered heritage assets so that future generations can enjoy for many years to come.”

The canal will be closed to navigation for the duration of the installation works, and there may be restrictions on the towpath and possibly temporary closures of roads around the locks. Appropriate diversions will be put in place, where required. Scottish Canals will inform stakeholders and the public in advance of any such closures and will minimise any impact as far as practicable throughout the works.

This winter will also see Scottish Canals commence survey and design works for the gates along the western section of the canal, development of upgrades to Cairnbaan Bridge and modifications to both Crinan Ferry Bridge and Oakfield Bridge.

These works will also progress between November 2020 and March 2021. During this period, there may be additional disruption along the canal corridor.

In the new year, a programme of dredging will be undertaken at Ardrishaig Harbour and at critical locations along the canal between January and March 2021.

It is anticipated that the total investment needed to upgrade the infrastructure on the Crinan Canal, including the replacement of all canal gates, is approximately £8-12 million. The full scope of works is expected to take three years to complete and would safeguard the future of the waterway for generations to come.





Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact:

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

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767 383 557 or email Nicola.Sturgeon@scottishcanals.co.uk

For all the latest updates please follow @scottishcanals

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

About the Crinan Canal

  • Meandering through the ancient coastal kingdom known as ‘Dalriada’ in the Heart of Argyll, the nine-mile-long canal links Ardrishaig at the Firth of Clyde with the picturesque village of Crinan and the world-class sailing of the west coast.
  • Once a thriving freight artery, the 200-year waterway may be home to yachts and barges rather than Clyde Puffers nowadays but it’s still a vital link for boaters looking to avoid the long journey around the Mull of Kintyre.
  • The Crinan Canal is one of Argyll & Bute’s most popular visitor attractions with over 1,600 boats from all over the world transiting the canal each year.

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