the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals were closed in the early 1960's
and it was not until lottery funding was obtained in 1999 that restoration
works rejoined the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal. At a
quarter of the cost of the overall £84.5 million project, the
Falkirk Wheel between the two navigations is the most significant
structure by far, but only one link in the overall scheme involving
rebuilding bridges, clearing blockages and cutting new stretches of
canal. For more facts and figures visit (01324 619888 / www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk),
but in summary the 25m level difference between the canals is traversed
via a pair of gondolas which together carry 600 tonnes of water to
the 100m aqueduct at the top of the 35m diameter wheel.
no charge for the Falkirk Wheel but it is advisable to book beforehand
Select a route using the colour coded links below
All routes are covered in Nicholson’s N8, or Geo G25
THE SCOTTISH LOWLAND CANALS (The Forth and Clyde and the Union) The Scottish Lowland Canals are quite different to what you will normally find in England.
The Forth and Clyde – being a sea to sea canal – is wider than the average English canal. Between our base at Falkirk and Glasgow there are four locks and three road bridges, all of which are currently operated by British Waterways staff. Between Glasgow and the Clyde at Bowling there are a further 18 locks and a number of pedestrian bridges, also operated by BW staff.The Union Canal is a contour canal and has no locks at all and no bridges that have to be opened to let you pass.The Falkirk Wheel, as you would imagine, is operated by British Waterways staff, as are the two locks above it and the one below.So if your holiday enjoyment centres on opening locks and bridges, these are not the canals for you. Having said that, the BW crew are only too happy to have your assistance and muscle power to help with opening locks and a very helpful in meeting your needs in terms of moving throughout the canal system.
However, if you allow a lack of opportunity for physical exertion to put you off coming to these two canals, which pass through some incredibly eye-catching and relaxing countryside, you will miss out on the Falkirk Wheel, the drop lock at Dalmuir which is the first of its kind in Britain and takes you down under a main road and a unique canal-side fish and chip shop. Not to mention entering the heart of both Edinburgh and Glasgow by boat.
To make some of your movement arrangements you will, on occasion, require the use of a mobile ‘phone.