Thursday 22 June 2023


We are still at Corpach, just outside the entrance to the Caledonian Canal. It seems work has been going on to fix the bridge at Gairlochy, but we don't yet know when it will be possible to open it to canal traffic.
The Internet tells us this is a steel swing bridge  about 90 years old. In 2021 it had a major refit to update its mechanism and improve its reliability. Any improvement must have been relative however, as it then broke down at the end of 2022 and again in April this year. The latest breakdown was just a day or so before we arrived.
A group of smaller gaffers entered the canal this afternoon: they all have masts that can be lowered and they can slip under the 3.2m height of the bridge while it is closed. Thats not really an option for us. Sian Ant and Alastair helped the boats go through the locks smoothly.The picture shows Step Back in Time, Titch and Charlotte Elizabeth in the first lock. 
Bonita will be staying put until they can fix the bridge, or I get some crew that can help going 'over the top' north of Cape Wrath. In the meantime we are reassured that work is being done and various bits of bridge mechanism have been removed and sent away for repair or replacement.

There is no significánt commercial traffic in the canal, but plenty of yachts, some fishing boats, and small passenger liners offering a luxury experience - no doubt at luxury prices. Any prolonged closure of the canal in mid summer would surely hurt the tourist industry which is so important in this area. Let's hope it can be fixed soon.

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