Summer sailings on canal sunk by lock problems at Rosebank

The canal is fenced off between locks nine and ten near Rosebank. Picture: Michael Gillen
The canal is fenced off between locks nine and ten near Rosebank. Picture: Michael Gillen

Days after HM The Queen opened the final stretch of the Millennium Link canal bosses have admitted that vessels can’t sail along it.

A problem with a lock near the former Rosebank Distillery means it is impossible to sail from coast to coast.

The failure with the cill – a narrow ledge protruding from the gates – stopped some small boats sailing through to be part of the flotilla which was led by the Seagull Trust barge carrying the royal visitors last Wednesday.

Divers are due to go into the water this week to determine the extent of the damage.

Signs on lock nine and ten say it is expected to be closed for up to four weeks.

However, it will be a major disappointment to the waterways body and boat owners that one stretch cannot be accessed at the busiest season of the year.

A spokesperson for Scottish Canals said: “The Forth & Clyde Canal is currently closed to sea to sea transits following a cill failure at lock nine in Falkirk.

“Dive teams will be on site this week to inspect the cill and determine how we can bring the lock back into use.

“We’d like to offer our thanks to our boating customers for their understanding during this time and assure them that we’re working to bring the canal back into full operation as soon as we can.”

History of the waterway

The Forth & Clyde Canal is approximately 35 miles long and has 40 locks to negotiate.

Construction work began in 1768 and it opened two years later.

It closed in 1963 and lay unused for almost 40 years.

In 2001 the canal is reopened as part of the £83.5m Millennium Link – the largest canal restorations anywhere in Britain.

The following year The Falkirk Wheel reconnects the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals for the first time in over 70 years.

Last week, The Queen Elizabeth II Canal was opened, the final piece to the Millennium Link.