Forth and Clyde Canal

Photo: forth and clyde canal. December 2012

Helen Rose Hill Diary

The Forth and Clyde Canal runs from Bowling in the west of Scotland at the River Clyde to Falkirk in the east where it joins to the Union Canal and goes to the east coast. I have previously cycled along the tow path to Falkirk from Glasgow and in the other direction to Bowling and beyond to Balloch on Loch Lomond.

Where the Forth and Clyde Canal joins the Union Canal, it is particularly interesting as the canals are at different levels and there is a carrier to lift the boats up to the higher level. It is known as he Falkirk Wheel. It is an amazing feat of engineering and well worth reading about it.

There had been a particularly long period of icy weather here and I went on the low level walk organised by the walking club just before Christmas. It was the eight mile stretch from Bowling at the start of the canal to Glasgow at Lock 27.

Photo: wee spark. The canal was opened in 1790 and is 35 miles long. However, it fell into disuse when sea going vessels became too large to use the Canal. There was still a Forth and Clyde Society and they campaigned for funding so as part of the Millenium Celebrations the canal was reopened for barges and boats.

At the Bowling Basin, there are various wooden sculptures and a pleasant little park where the towpath begins. It was a cold clear day and we walked along the towpath and under the Erskine Bridge which connects Old Kilpatrick in the north to Erskine in the south over the River Clyde. Earlier in the year I did a Charity Walk over this bridge. The bridge is a mile long but there is a pleasant woodland walk at the south side of it. Anyway, back to the canal walk, the towpath is good to walk on although there were some puddles with ice lower down which were treacherous to walk on.

Photo: duck on ice. On the canal, part of the water was iced over and the ducks and swans were having a difficult time having to walk over the ice with feet splaying as they slid on the ice. They looked as if they were standing on water! Alongside the canal there were various historic buildings previously used by officials of the canal in days gone by. We reached Clydebank shopping centre where we had lunch and passed the Fish and Chip Boat which is billed as the only sail by fish and chip shop in Scotland!

From here on, the area around the canal is mostly built up. At the end of the eight miles we reached the pub at Lock 27 for a wee refreshment. The walk could be extended to twelve miles on to the Kelvin Walkway and Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Park but with short daylight hours we decided not to walk in the dark. We could also have walked to Dalsholm Park as there are sometimes Highland Cattle in the field there. This was a very pleasant easy walk suitable for the time of year and weather conditions.

Coming attractions; Whatever I do in the next few months.

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