The Caledonian Canal Reopens for Sea to Sea Transits

Scottish Canals is pleased to confirm that the Caledonian Canal will be re-open from 22nd July 2020, and we look forward to welcoming our boating customers back to cruising the canals.


The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on operations and budgets, and therefore the way we operate the canals this year will look different.


From 22nd July until 1st November 2020 the new opening hours for the canal will be seven days a week, 8.30am – 5.30pm, with a one hour break for lunch (this time will determined locally).


As there will be fewer seasonal lock keepers joining the team this year, this means that locks and bridges won’t be permanently manned. Instead, each district will be operated with a mobile team of staff. Although our teams will do their best to move boats as quickly and efficiently as possible, boaters may need to wait at some locks and bridges whilst staff operate structures elsewhere. We ask that boaters allow up to an extra one or two days for their canal transits this year.


To ensure that we can operate the canal safely in line with Covid-19 public health guidance, we will require all boaters to be responsible for their own lines at every lock – both from the boat at single locks and from ashore at lock flights. Vessels should have sufficient competent crew aboard the boat at all times when on transit through the canal. We will not be able to accommodate transit for boats with insufficient crew.


The need to maintain a safe social distance between boaters, lock keepers and the public means that we will be able to fit fewer boats into each lock chamber. Boaters may be asked to wait if the lock chamber has reached safe capacity.


So that our mobile lock keeping teams can plan the most efficient use of their time each day, we ask that skippers call each district team the day before travel into each district so that our teams can schedule requests.


East District only (Clachnaharry Sea Lock – Dochgarroch Lock): +44 (0)7920 237 331

Middle District only (Fort Augustus Locks – Laggan Locks)

Westbound: +44 (0) 7712 079 690

Eastbound: +44 (0) 7917 803 200

West District only (Gairlochy Locks – Corpach Sea Lock): +44 (0) 7917 348 025 or +44 (0) 1397 772 249


Both the operating structure and transit changes are new for staff and customers of Scottish Canals. We ask that for everyone’s safety and peace of mind, our customers show patience, understanding and kindness to our teams, their fellow boaters, and the communities with which you engage.


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