Two famous canals in the Highlands will undergo dredging this winter thanks to a £1million grant from the Scottish Government.
The vital dredging work will take place across the Caledonian and Crinan Canals from January 2021.
Around 20,000 tonnes of material is expected to be removed from the canal channels which will make them easier to navigate and better able to welcome boating customers from around the world.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “It is fantastic news that the Caledonian and Crinan canals will see an extra £1million investment towards dredging.
“This funding is part of the Scottish Government’s £230million Return to Work Package, which was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance in June, to mitigate some of the economic impacts of Covid 19 on the Scottish economy.
“This investment will encourage greater use of the canals – and with that greater use, bring various benefits to the west coast and Highland economies.”
Dredging will be carried out between Laggan Spout and Kytra in the Caledonian Canal throughout February and March 2021 ahead of the season which welcomes an average of 4,300 transits per year from countries across Europe, America and Asia.
Andrew Thin, chairman of Scottish Canals, said: “As home of the Great Glen and Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal is one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, generating millions of pounds for the local economy each year and helping to sustain jobs and businesses along the waterway.
“To allow us to keep the canal in a fully operable condition, and continue delivering benefits to the local economy, the Scottish Government is providing us with the necessary funds to deliver much needed dredging works at Laggan over the coming months. This means we can continue to offer safe passage to vessels travelling coast to coast, whether they are transporting cargo or providing leisure and business travel for passengers.”