Repairs underway on Crinan Canal’s 200-year-old timber pier

The 200-year-old pier at Ardrishaig on the Crinan Canal is undergoing a refurbishment as custodians Scottish Canals aims to bring the structure back into use following a partial collapse earlier this year.

The project will see the damaged section of the pier, which sits at the mouth of Loch Gilp and the Crinan Canal, rebuilt and reinforced in order to reopen it for freight use. The pier is a key asset for timber hauliers in the region, with around 30,000 tonnes of freight passing through the harbour each year. The project scheduled to be completed by the end of October 2017.

Construction of the pier first began in 1800, with alterations carried out between 1817 and 1837 under the direction of the pre-eminent Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. The harbour pier was again extended in the mid-19th century to berth the Clyde steamers that transferred passengers onto the Crinan Canal. Tickets for the steamers were purchased in the former terminal building on Pier Square – now the Yot Spot chandlery. In recent years, the pier has become one of Scotland’s main timber ports.

Following the repairs to bring the pier back into use, the next phase of the project will potentially see Scottish Canals widen and lengthen the pier in order to accommodate larger vessels and increase its capacity. The works would also open up new leisure uses for the structure, with cruise vessels able to berth in the area.

Richard Millar, Director of Infrastructure at Scottish Canals, said: “The 200-year-old Ardrishaig Pier is an integral part of the historic fabric of the Crinan Canal and now plays a vital role in the economy of the local area. Since the structure’s closure, we’ve been working to come up with a solution that will bring the pier back into use and restore the important timber operations of the area.

“This project will safeguard and improve one of the Crinan’s most important structures, ensuring the pier is cared for into the next century and beyond, and that the vital timber industry is able to continue to operate in the area. We’d like to thank the local community and hauliers for their patience and understanding during the pier’s closure.”

Notes to Editors

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.

As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for bridges, buildings, locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day.

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.

The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22 million visits per year. See for more information.

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals on 07917217608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767383557 or email

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