Scottish Canals is offering the public the chance to learn about the engineering, history and wildlife of the historic Caledonian Canal and a chance to explore the depths of its colossal lock chambers.
As part of its programme of winter maintenance, the canal custodians have reduced the water level of more than four miles of the 200-year-old waterway at Fort Augustus in order to replace a series of lock gates.
In total, around 5,160 cubic metres of water has been drained from the canal.
As part of the project, an open day on Friday will offer the public the chance to see the centuries-old world that is usually hidden beneath the waterline – with a lucky few able to set foot inside the lock chamber itself.
Richard Millar, director of infrastructure at Scottish Canals, said: “The 200-year-old Caledonian Canal is one of the Highlands most popular visitor attractions with over 1,400 boats transiting the canal each year.
“However, many visit the waterway without ever seeing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and below the waterline, to look after the heritage, engineering, and habitats of Scotland’s waterways to ensure they continue to thrive for future generations to enjoy.
“The work we’re undertaking at Fort Augustus is a fantastic chance for the public to see the scale of work that goes into caring for the incredible infrastructure of the Caledonian Canal, glimpse the craftsmanship of the waterway’s 18th century design as it exists below the waterline, and take a tour of the canal’s history, engineering, and habitats led by the people who know it best – our passionate and knowledgeable staff.
“We may be their custodians, but these canals belong to the people of Scotland and are there for everyone to enjoy.
“I’d encourage everyone to come along to the open day to glimpse the Caledonian Canal as they’ve never seen it before and learn more about the hard work we undertake to care for the built and natural heritage of this amazing asset.”