Around £1.8 million of improvement works are set to get under way at Gairlochy on the Caledonian Canal.

The Scottish Government-funded works include the replacement of the top lock gates at Lock 17, which are not only the largest gates on the Caledonian Canal, but the whole canal network in Scotland.

The canal sees over 1,400 boats each year and "contributes significantly to the Highland economy".

The gates are vital in the flood defence mechanism separating Loch Lochy from the canal infrastructure and communities west of this point.

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Lock 17 gates at Gairlochy are over 30 years old and so based on age, condition and risk, are considered a priority for replacement to remain an effective flood defence.

Catherine Topley, chief executive at Scottish Canals, said: "This planned investment in the Caledonian Canal is critical to ensure the safety of the waterway for all its users and those who live nearby.

"The lock gates at Gairlochy have been welcoming our boating customers and creating a barrier against Loch Lochy for over 30 years and as they reach the end of their life expectancy it is vital we work to improve these heritage assets so we may safeguard them for another generation.

“The Caledonian Canal welcomes over 1,400 boats each year and contributes significantly to the Highland economy. By investing in our assets at Gairlochy, we are not only improving the canal infrastructure, we are investing in the local area and ensuring the canal can bring tourism for many years to come.”

Works to install the new pair of lock gates will take place from November to March 2021.

This involves two temporary dams installed at Gairlochy, with one upstream of Gairlochy Top Lock and the second downstream Gairlochy.

The canal between these two temporary dams will be fully dewatered to allow safe dry working conditions.

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