Image courtesy of John Fisher from Sandy Munro's collection
"It was self-sufficient when I started working there with the British Transport Commission (then British Waterways Board and now Scottish Canals). They had their own plumbers, carpenters, joiners, storemen, blacksmiths, welders, painters- they were all there.
"There were loads of labourers who maintained the canal. They put in clay- most of the clay used was taken out under the sand in Loch Gilp by an old wooden dredger. She had to be towed out by the ice breaker Conway. The dredger would get anchored out in the loch and they had to dredge tons and tons of sand to get at the clay, which was blue, and perfect for sealing the canal. They would press the clay with their feet- put water on it and trample it to make it pliable. They got it in using two huge wooden barges- the Conway would tow them back to the canal then they would be towed by horses. Horses used the towpath. At Cairnbaan, at lock 5, there’s a cast iron half round- you will see the remains of a wee bridge that was for horses to turn."
As told by John Fisher, who worked on the Crinan canal for 37 years
More information on visiting the area can be found here.