As Easter approaches and the final winter works are being carried out, we would like to take this opportunity to tell you about our new pilot scheme to increase the amount of staff time and resources devoted to dredging in the Lowland Canals.
In recent years we have seen an average of 80 boats transit the Forth & Clyde, and whilst interest in The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel have ensured the east side of the canal remains popular with boaters throughout the week, transits on the Maryhill to Bowling stretch of the canal mostly take place over the weekend (Friday to Monday).
With this in mind, from Friday 23rd March Scottish Canals will be piloting a four day, Friday to Monday, operation from Maryhill to Bowling (Locks 21-38). The sea locks will continue to operate seven days.
The savings made from mid-week opening will be re-invested in dredging key sites along the Lowland Canals and we will be prioritising high spots that have been identified by our boating customers.
We intend to communicate these changes widely so customers can plan ahead of visiting. However, for those few skippers requiring to transit the Maryhill to Bowling section mid-week (Tuesday to Thursday) a new and additional service will be introduced to allow you to call and book manned assistance from Scottish Canals staff at an additional cost of £90. Further information about this service will shortly be posted on the Customer Hub section of our website.
The transit licence price will remain at £19.80 per metre (£15.65 return journey) and to assist with planning your journey we have doubled the number of nights covered by the transit licence on the Lowland Canals from five to 10.
Another key change, as a direct result of boaters’ feedback, is that we will be returning to a more flexible two-way transit system this season. This will help provide more flexibility on the four days western operation and will ensure boating customers experience a better level of service.
In addition to the changes outlined above, following a successful pilot project with social enterprise Re-Union last year, Scottish Canals will be extending the volunteer programme which covered locks 3 to 16 in 2015 to cover locks 2 to 27. This means we will continue to offer a seven-day operation along the eastern section of the Forth & Clyde Canal, from Lock 2 at Grangemouth to Lock 20 at Castlecary.
The summer opening hours on the Forth & Clyde and Union canals are:
Forth & Clyde East (Lock 2, Grangemouth – Lock 20, Castlecary) : Tuesday 12th April to Tuesday 26th October: 7 days, 8.30am – 5.30pm.
Forth & Clyde West (Lock 21, Maryhill to Lock 38, Bowling): Tuesday 12th April to Tuesday 26th October: 4 Days (Friday – Monday) 8.30am-5.30pm
Bowling and Carron Sea Locks: 7 days, 8.30am – 7.30pm
Leamington Lift Bridge (Edinburgh): 7 days, 8.30am – 6.00pm
The Falkirk Wheel: 7 days, 10.00am – 5.00pm
Road Bridges: 7 days, 9:00am – 5:30pm
Points to note:
Please give at least 24 hours’ notice for assisted passage: T: 07810 794 467
Opening restrictions apply to the road bridges during periods of heavy road traffic.
We wish all of our boaters a successful 2016 season, and look forward to seeing you on the water.