Dry spell forces canal restrictions

Dry summer weather means sailors using the Crinan Canal will face restrictions from Friday onwards.

The nine-mile stretch of canal between Crinan and Ardrishaig is a popular route for yachts wanting to avoid the long diversion around the Mull of Kintyre.

A cene at the Crinan Classics event in 2010. Picture by Peter Sandground
A scene at the Crinan Classics event in 2010. Picture by Peter Sandground

But skippers are now being asked to co-operate with locking restrictions – including a maximum draft of 2.2 metres.

A statement by Scottish Canals – the successor body to British Waterways – says that recent dry conditions mean water resources need to be conserved ‘so that we may avoid more stringent restrictions at a later date’.

The 2.2 metre draft limit is forced by it being ‘impossible to maintain reaches at operational maximums’, adds the statement:  “We apologise to owners who will be inconvenienced by this course of action but it will allow us to continue to accommodate the majority of users, who fall below this threshold.”

Sea locks will not be operated at low water, with lockings being delayed by up to 1 ½  hours  to reduce the volume required to fill the lock and limit wastage.

Single craft lockings will also be avoided, with craft being delayed for up to an hour to allow other vessels to join, while shared lockings will be avoided on inland locks.

It adds: “We hope you will understand the need to maximise our water resource during dry periods to ensure we are able to continue operations for the remainder of the season, and we thank you for your cooperation.”

The restrictions will come into force on Friday (August 9) and remain under review according to the weather.

Updated information will be available on the Scottish Canals website.