The Crinan Canal, Britain’s most beautiful shortcut, will soon become just as easy to navigate from end to end on boot and bike as it is by boat thanks to an £880,000 investment for towpath upgrades from sustainable transport charity Sustrans Scotland.
Works will get underway on Monday 28th November to improve the final three stretches of the towpath starting with Ardrishaig to Oakfield before moving onto Dunardry to Bellanoch and finally Bellanoch to Crinan Ferry Bridge. The towpaths will be upgraded to a more robust all-weather surface which is already in place on other areas of the Crinan Canal.
George McBurnie, Project Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “The Crinan Canal and the surrounding area offer some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland, and this project goes some way to ensuring as many people as possible can safely enjoy the space for years to come.
“The new surface has been installed throughout our network and we’re constantly seeing increased usage as a result, which is fantastic.
“We hope that the new lighting and a consistent all weather surface will encourage even more people to engage in active and healthy lifestyles, whether that’s local people using the path as an alternative to driving short journeys or more cyclists taking on the Route 78 challenge!”
As part of the programme of works, Sustrans Scotland has also funded the installation of towpath LED solar lights which will help define the edge of the route on both sides in the Ardrishaig to Oakfield stretch, improving visibility along the waterway for users.
The work is scheduled for completion late March 2017 and, once finished, the whole of the Crinan Canal towpath will be one consistent route.
The towpath forms part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network – Route 78 The Caledonia Way – and provides an important link between the villages of Crinan, Bellanoch and Cairnbaan, and the towns of Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig.
Daisy Narayanan, Acting Director at Sustrans Scotland, said: “Installing the all-weather surface and additional LED lighting means the public will be able to make use of the Crinan Canal towpath all year round which is fantastic. The more we at Sustrans Scotland can do to make it easy for and to encourage the public to embrace active travel, particularly when it comes to shorter journeys, the better.”