Canals of Scotland
The main partner of the VEV project in Scotland is The Highland Council. This region is crossed from east to west, through the “Great Glen”, by the Caledonian Canal.
This canal, 96.5 km long, was built at the beginning of the 19th century to encourage trade in coasters between the East coast ports and those of the West coast, as well as the islands.
This is why the capacity is remarkably large for the period, with locks 45.70m long, 10.70m wide, and a depth over sills of 4.10m. All the bridges were movable (mainly swing bridges).
The waterway crosses Lochs Ness, Oich and Lochy over a distance of 62km. The remaining 34.5 km are man-made canal sections, with 29 locks.
The Highland Council approved a proposal by British Waterways to include in the project the other Scottish waterways managed and operated by the national body.
The Crinan Canal, 14,5km long, cuts the isthmus of the Mull of Kintyre, thus offering a route no less than 135km shorter for boats serving the islands from the port of Glasgow. It comprises 15 locks, more modest in size than those of Caledonian: 26.80 m long, 6.10m wide and a draught of 2.90m. The principal issues of development of this canal relate to the ports located at each end, Crinan on the western side facing the islands, and Ardrishaig to the east.
It is between Scotland’s capital Edinburgh and the historic centre of commerce and industry, Glasgow, supported by a major seaport in the Clyde estuary, that one of Europe’s most ambitious projects for restoration of an abandoned inland waterway is currently being carried out. It is the Millennium Link, made up of two canals :
• the Forth & Clyde Canal, with locks 20.90 m long, 6.00 m wide and 2.60 m deep, and a headroom of more than 20 m.
•the Union Canal, capacity 20.10 m by 3,40 m, headroom of 1,50 m and a draught of 1,05 m,
•and the connection under construction between the two, close to the town of Falkirk.