Critical canal repairs to commence

Through Scottish Government funding, including an additional allocation of £5.35m made available to Scottish Canals in November 2018, critical repairs will commence on the Caledonian and Union Canals on 14 January 2019.

Commencing next week, the lock gates at Kytra and Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal are to be replaced.

Transport Scotland is making the investment to allow Scottish Canals to maintain these historic assets as well as assist projects which improve the experience for users and support income generation for reinvestment in the canals.

“The additional funding is enabling Scottish Canals to undertake critical repairs which will allow boaters to continue to navigate the waterways for years to come. While there may be some short term disruption, the works are essential to the future of the Caledonian and Union canals.

“These repairs will be in addition to the scheduled maintenance that Scottish Canals will carry out in 2019 as part of its asset management programme – including critical embankment works at Linlithgow.

“Our canal network plays a vital role in tourism and economic regeneration. To secure the future of the network, we intend to increase Scottish Canals funding to record levels in the Scottish Budget for 2019/20 in recognition of the challenges faced in maintaining our historic waterways.”

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Catherine Topley, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, said: “This additional funding is fantastic news and will help us to safeguard the incredible heritage assets of Scotland’s canals for future generations to enjoy.

“These 200-year-old waterways play a vital role in local communities and Scotland as a whole, contributing to the marine economy; attracting tourists, visitor spend and investment; as well as stimulating job creation and business growth.

“While managing these historic assets is not without its challenges, we are committed to continuing to work with the Scottish Government and our partners to ensure they continue to deliver benefits for all the people of Scotland.”

Scottish Canals have been updating and informing canal users on anticipated disruption as a result of these vital works. For further information visit the Scottish Canals website.

Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government has increased Scottish Canals grant-in-aid funding to record levels of allocation since the creation of Scottish Canals. The funding has increased from £11.6m in 2018/19 to a proposed £15m in 2019/20 which would represent an increase of 30% in recognition of the challenges involved in maintaining the canal network.

Further information on works:

Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus
Following detailed inspections of the lock flight at Fort Augustus, Scottish Canals will install a new pair of lock gates at Lock 2 and undertake buoyancy improvement works at Gates 3 and 4. Works are scheduled to start on 14 January and last for three months. To ensure lifting equipment can safely access the site, the south side of the road will be closed to traffic during these dates. The towpath will remain open to cyclists and walkers during these works.

Caledonian Canal at Kytra
Following detailed inspections of the lock gates at Kytra Locks, Scottish Canals will install two pairs of lock gates at this location. Works are scheduled to begin on 14 January and last until 25 March. Towpath use may be restricted during this time however Scottish Canals contractor will manage safe access during these works.

The canal will be partially drained down between Cullochy Lock and Fort Augustus to allow these works to take place safely, however by undertaking these works during the winter closure, Scottish Canals hope to minimise disruption to boating traffic.

Union Canal at Linlithgow
Following detailed embankment surveys, Scottish Canals have progressed the first phase of critical embankment work, with the second phase due to commence on the 14 January. These works will involve further sheet piling at Manse Road East and will also run for 14 weeks. Navigation at this stretch of the canal will be closed during this time.

Crinan and Forth & Clyde Canals
Further work will be undertaken on 2 pairs of lock gates for the Forth & Clyde Canal, and new water monitoring systems for the Crinan Reservoir and the Forth & Clyde summit pound.


Matthew Millar
Transport Scotland
0141 272 7199

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