12th August 2001British Waterways AGM reports transforming year in Scotland
25th August 2001Millennium Link Reaches Major Milestone in Wester Hailes
12th September 2001GIANT
BOAT LIFT TAKES SHAPE IN FALKIRK
28th August 2001Welcome
Aboard at Wester Hailes
28th August 2001Thousands
gather to celebrate reconnection of world's first sea-to-sea ship canal
30th August 20012001 – Opening year!
16th March 2001Construction
Tops £50 Million
21st November 2000Construction
Activity Making Good Progress
24th August 2000Fun
Day Celebrations at Broxburn and Ratho
Schwendinger - Water above Water
1st November 1999BBC
filming the Link
12th March 1999Secretary
of State for Scotland inaugurates work on Scotland’s Millennium Link project.
BRITISH WATERWAYS ANNUAL MEETING REPORTS ON A TRANSFORMING YEAR FOR
Scotland’s canals are now delivering real benefits to the Scottish
population, with a series of reopenings and restoration activity on the
country’s inland waterways underlining the economic and environmental
importance of canal regeneration.
This was the message from British
Waterways Scotland at the organisation’s second annual meeting in
Edinburgh today (Thursday 6th September). At the meeting Jim Stirling,
British Waterways Director Scotland, highlighted a series of major
achievements over the year, whilst stressing that the restoration of the
waterways is only the start of the regeneration process.
meeting heard that over the course of the year 50,000 people lined the
banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal to celebrate the reopening of the
waterway after a break of almost 40 years, the Crinan Canal celebrated its
200th anniversary and the community in Wester Hailes celebrated the
reopening of their stretch of Union Canal in Edinburgh.
2001 the world’s first rotating boat lift at Falkirk started to take
shape, Neptune’s staircase on the Caledonian Canal was illuminated and
responsibility for Scotland’s inland waterways became a devolved matter,
with funding for British Waterways’ Scottish activities transferring to
the Scottish Executive.
Speaking to more than 100 guests, Jim
Stirling said. “This has been a momentous year for Scotland’s waterways
and I am delighted that we are now seeing the benefits beginning to flow
into the communities who have been so important to the successful
regeneration of Scotland’s canal network. Already we have seen the
creation of 700 construction jobs as a result of The Millennium Link and I
look forward to many more full time positions resulting from this
regeneration in the years to come.
“Thanks to a strong
partnership approach we are now on course for the opening up of the entire
Lowland canal network in Spring next year, which will see the Falkirk
Wheel, the world’s first rotating boat lift, take up its position as one
of the UK’s leading tourist attractions.
“On the Crinan Canal the
Timberlink programme continues to handle 50,000 tonnes of freight transfer
at Ardrishaig Harbour and supports local hauliers with transfer to the
Quayside. In addition we have been working with Argyll & Bute Council
to create opportunities for New Deal Employees to gain work experience on
“The Caledonian Canal remains a strong contributor to
the Highland economy with waterway activity accounting for 14% of tourism
spend in the Great Glen Activity on the water itself is increasing with
latest figures showing 4,000 boat movements per annum.”
year also saw the creation of the British Waterways Scotland Group, an
advisory body set up to work closely with the Scottish Executive and other
partners to harness the full potential of the country’s waterways.
Commenting on the past year, Campbell Christie, Chairman of the
British Waterways Scotland Group, said: “This has been a busy year for
British Waterways. Although it has been a year of celebrations with the
reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal in May and Union Canal through
Wester Hailes in August, it has also been a trying year, with the outbreak
of Foot & Mouth forcing the closure of towpaths across the country.
“At all times we have worked with our partners to continue our
programme of regeneration, with all members of the Scotland Group bringing
their vast and diverse experience into play to realise the potential of
“2001 is also the year when the waterways in
Scotland became fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We welcome the
support we have received from Sarah Boyack, Minister for Transport, and
her team at the Scottish Executive, and look forward to working even more
closely with them in the years ahead.”
Jim Stirling added: “The
reopening of the Lowland canal network in Spring 2002 will be a momentous
occasion, but we must remember that this is just the start of the process.
It is absolutely critical that we continue to work with our partners
throughout Scotland to ensure that we keep the ball rolling and continue
to deliver further benefits to both urban and rural communities on
Scotland’s Lowland and Highland canal network.”
Millennium Link Reaches Major Milestone as Community Welcomes New
Millennium Link waterway restoration moved a step closer to completion
today (Saturday 25th August) with the opening of a new stretch of the
Union Canal through Wester Hailes in Edinburgh.
A flotilla of
boats, fronted by an eight-foot long wooden dragon and accompanied by
music from The Gutty Slippers, led the celebrations as British Waterways
Scotland and the local community were joined by Jackie Baillie MSP to
celebrate the completion of the latest phase of the ambitious waterway
regeneration project across central Scotland.
Support from the
Wester Hailes community has been a critical element in the success of The
Millennium Link - an initiative which has been part funded with a £32
million lottery grant from the Millennium Commission. Without the
continued backing of this and other communities along the length of the
canal, the project would have stalled many years ago.
Waterway-focussed regeneration is already delivering economic
benefits in other parts of the UK. The Wester Hailes community recognised
early on the huge economic, environmental and educational benefits
associated with the canal’s restoration - benefits that will flow to the
local area with the reopening of the waterway.
Work on the Wester
Hailes section of the Union Canal included the construction of 1.7
kilometres of new waterway to replace the original line that was in-filled
in the late 60s.
Commenting on the celebrations, Doris Brown,
Convenor of the Wester Hailes Community Canal Working Group, said: “This
is a great day for everyone in Wester Hailes. The community has been
supportive of this project from the very beginning and to see our section
of the Union Canal complete is fantastic. I am sure that over the months
and years we will see the benefits flowing into our community as more and
more activity springs up, not just on the water itself but on the banks of
Following the presentation of a plaque to the community
on behalf of British Waterways - represented by the organisation’s
Chairman, George Greener - the Minister for Social Justice, Jackie
Baillie, commented: “The community of Wester Hailes, together with British
Waterways and all the partners involved, have put a tremendous amount of
work into these improvements which we see today. I am delighted to present
this plaque to recognise and value the important role the community
“This marks the continuing and sustained regeneration of
the area – sustained because the community feel a real sense of ownership.
I know that many innovative projects will flow from the opening of the
canal in Wester Hailes to further enhance the area, its links with the
rest of Edinburgh, and therefore access to more and better economic
Jim Stirling, Director British Waterways Scotland,
added: “Simply put we would not be standing here today if it were not for
the continued support from communities along the length of the lowland
“Today’s celebrations are a thank you to the
Wester Hailes community for their commitment to The Millennium Link and
for their patience whilst the works have taken place. We have reached an
exciting time in the project with all the hard work of recent years coming
to fruition. There is still work to be done but we can now see the light
at the end of the tunnel and can look forward to the grand reopening of
the completed Millennium Link in Spring 2002.”
Lord Dalkeith KBE,
Millennium Commissioner sent a message: “We are delighted to see the
opening of the Union Canal through Wester Hailes. The enthusiasm and
interest of so many local people in one of the most challenging sections
of the Millennium Link project has been immensely heartening to all
involved. In offering our congratulations we hope they will reap the
benefits of environmental improvements and economic regeneration both now
and for generations to come.”
As the day of celebrations continued
street entertainers and bands entertained the local community while the
more adventurous took to the water in canoes or tried their hand at
angling. For those seeking more leisurely pursuits there were boat trips
running throughout the afternoon, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy
the canal at first hand.
David Crichton of Scottish Enterprise
Edinburgh and Lothian, commented: “ The Union Canal was part of the
motorway structure of its day, providing an important transport link
across the heart of Scotland helping commerce and communities to thrive.
Its restoration will also generate renewed educational, environmental and
economic benefits for communities along its banks. It is a wonderful asset
and has been recognised as such by the Wester Hailes community. The
official opening of the new section of the canal is a deserved thank you
to the people of Wester Hailes for their support and continued active
involvement in the project”
Councillor Brian Fallon, a local
Councillor from City of Edinburgh Council added:
“This is a great day
for Wester Hailes with a fantastic new community and recreational asset
running through the heart of the area.The Council was pleased to
contribute to the project and to co-operate in what was a complex
development project. The challenge for us all now, community and
development partners, is to maximise its potential for local
Gail McAulay of The Waterways Trust Scotland said: “The
Waterways Trust Scotland is delighted to see yet another stretch of canal
in Scotland open. The community of Wester Hailes have been so important to
this project and we hope to be able to keep them involved with the canal
by facilitating various volunteer projects along its banks in the future.
TWTS are also pleased to have contributed directly to the project in the
Wester Hailes area as one of the funders of the new wildlife
The opening of the Wester Hailes section marks a major
milestone in The Millennium Link project. In May this year the first stage
of the project was successfully completed when the world’s first
sea-to-sea ship canal, the Forth & Clyde, re-opened after a break of
almost 40 years.
The Millennium Link has been made possible through
a partnership including the Millennium Commission, European Regional
Development Fund, Scottish Enterprise Network, seven local authorities,
British Waterways and The Waterways Trust Scotland.
GIANT BOAT LIFT TAKES SHAPE IN FALKIRK
newest tourist attraction, The Falkirk Wheel, reached a major construction
milestone in August 2001 as the last of the major sections of the world’s
first rotating boat lift was hoisted into position.
A 1000 tonne
crane was used to carefully position the two 300 tonne arm sections, 50
tonne axle and two 80 tonne gondolas, into a specially constructed well at
the end of a newly constructed aqueduct. The whole process was completed
in under a week with the first lift taking place on Friday 17th
On Wednesday 22nd August the two massive gondolas were
lowered into position giving, for the first time, an outline of the
The Wheel is the centrepiece of The Millennium Link
project that will rejoin Scotland’s lowland canals to create a waterway
link between Glasgow and Edinburgh that was broken over 60 years ago. It
will replace the original flight of 11 locks that connected the two
canals, and was designed by a team of highly specialised
The Falkirk Wheel will stand 35 metres high when
completed and will weigh 1,800 tonnes when filled with water. Two
gondolas, each containing approximately 250,000 litres of water, will
transfer up to four boats at a time, taking approximately 15 minutes to
complete each cycle.
Welcome Aboard at Wester Hailes
the opening of the Wester Hailes section of the Union Canal, British
Waterways Scotland and the local community invite you to come along and
join the celebrations. There will be street entertainers, bands, pondlife
demonstrations and the chance to take part in activities such as canoeing
and angling. There will also be boat trips running throughout the
The event begins at 10.30am on Saturday 25th August at
Calder Crescent in Wester Hailes with a flotilla of boats, led by the
marvellous wooden dragon sculpture and accompanied by music from the Gutty
For full programme of events please see
Programme of Events – Saturday 25th
1030hrs Gather at Calder Crescent to mark the opening of
the event. There will be a speech by the Chairman of British Waterways and
the band ‘Gutty Slippers’ will perform for 10 minutes on the bow of one of
1040hrs Boats arrive at footbridge and will stop for a
few moments, Doris Brown will say a few words and perform a ribbon
cutting. The Gutty Slippers will perform on bow of boat.
Dragon Sculpture will be left at its resting place in the new pond area.
1055hrs Boats arrive at Community Complex.
unveils & presents plaque.
1125hrs Stravaig and Gutty Slippers
will perform at Community Complex followed by bands and other acoustic
entertainment. Walkabout Street Theatre will perform: Face painting
1215hrs Boats leave the Community Complex for the short trip
to bridge at Kingsknowe for ribbon cutting.
1300hrs On canal
activity starts at community complex. There are events organised such as:
canoeing, boat trips and a pondlife demonstration.
There will be a
booking system in place on the day for the on canal activities.
THOUSANDS GATHER TO CELEBRATE RECONNECTION OF
WORLD’S FIRST SEA-TO-SEA SHIP CANAL
(click pictures for higher resolution)
people lined the banks of the Forth & Clyde canal at the weekend to
watch a spectacular flotilla wind its way across Scotland, marking the
historic reconnection of the North Sea to the Atlantic through Scotland’s
To mark the reopening of the 200 year old waterway a
flotilla of over 40 boats travelled from Falkirk through to Bowling on the
26th, 27th and 28th May, sparking a series of celebratory events in
communities along the length of the canal.
Heading the flotilla
was Millie, a spectacular, specially constructed 35ft fish shaped boat,
which spouted water at fascinated bystanders on the banks of the canal. In
Falkirk over 10,000 people turned out to see the waterway procession with
thousands more joining in the fun at Castlecary, Kirkintilloch, Maryhill,
Blairdardie, Clydebank and Bowling.
On Saturday a huge children’s
parade lined the banks of the canal in sunny Falkirk to wave the flotilla
off on its 56 km journey through to the west while on Sunday the sun
continued to shine as Millie and thrash ceilidh band Febus entertained the
crowds at Kirkintilloch and Maryhill. On Monday the flotilla’s journey
continued through Glasgow to Clydebank where the boats were treated to
fish and chips at the world’s first sail-by chippie before heading to
Bowling and a spectacular fireworks display.
Commenting on the
celebrations Jim Stirling, British Waterways’ Director Scotland said;
“What a fabulous weekend. We have waited almost forty years to see the
reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal and to see so many people join in
the celebrations was just fantastic. Simply put we would not be standing
here today if it were not for the support of all the communities along the
length of the canal.”
The restoration of the waterway, which was
the world’s first sea-to-sea ship canal, marks the completion of the first
stage of the £78 million Millennium Link, Europe’s most ambitious canal
The Millennium Link has been made possible
through a partnership including the Millennium Commission, European
Regional Development Fund, Scottish Enterprise Network, seven local
authorities, British Waterways and The Waterways Trust
For further information contact Chris Bell on Tel: 01698
543 090, Mobile: 0797 469 2330 or Alison Gilfillan on Tel: 01698 543 090
Mobile: 07780 604 538
Scottish Enterprise Network is convinced of the economic benefits which
will arise from the Millennium Link project. We have invested heavily in
it and recognise the magnificent job which British Waterways has done in
managing such a complex engineering project within very tight timescales.
“We are already seeing a significant amount of secondary
investment taking place and our role, together with that of the five LECs
involved, is to work to ensure that the economic potential created by our
joint investment in The Millennium Link is fully realised over the next
few years. We are confident that will be and that the opening of the canal
to navigation after so many years is just the start of good things to
Robert Crawford, Chief Executive
“The Millennium Link will play a major role in
the renaissance of the Falkirk Council area as well as that of Scotland’s
great canals. Seeing the Forth & Clyde Canal restored to full working
use will be a matter of great pride to the people of this area in whose
heritage it has played such an important role.”
“This is a momentous day in the
regeneration of Scotland’s canals with the reopening of the Forth and
Clyde Canal to through navigation after nearly forty years.
have been a much under-utilised resource in recent times and British
Waterways Scotland have got a huge task on their hands in bringing the
canals up to scratch and encouraging their use.
“I am therefore
delighted to announce today an extra £1.5 million grant for BW Scotland in
recognition of the financial pressure they face. This funding will be used
to help encourage the public to make greater use of our canal
“Canals can contribute greatly to Scotland’s urban
regeneration and provide new opportunities for recreation and tourism. I
encourage all those involved to continue to work together to ensure that
the enormous potential of the Millennium Link will be
Transport Minister Sarah Boyack
research shows that boating and cruising are major growth areas for
tourism in Scotland and this project will provide a much needed boost to
the facilities available. This project adds an extra dimension to the
tourism product in Scotland and one that can only help to attract many
more visitors to the country."
Peter McKinlay, Interim Chief
Visitscotland/Scottish Tourist Board
a chance to turn our heritage into our future. The long-term benefits for
the area in terms of jobs and the potential for regeneration are huge. The
Millennium Link is a major catalyst for economic development and growth in
both East and West Dunbartonshire. The project will allow us to regenerate
run down sites, attract new business and create jobs across the region. We
are already working closely with the local authorities, British Waterways
and other partners to make sure this happens.”
Director, Competitive Place,
“I am delighted that the Forth & Clyde
canal is springing back to life. For too long, the canal has been
Scotland’s biggest backwater. On completion of the full Millennium Link
next year Scotland's lowland canal network will forge a renewed link
between our two biggest cities, and create a massive opportunity for
communities along its banks.
“I am sure Glasgow will benefit
greatly from visits by countless yachtsmen and women who will use the
canal to get to the wonderful sailing waters on the West Coast of
Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Alex
“It has been inspiring to be part of this grand
vision. Opening up the canals all the way from the Firth of Clyde to the
Firth of Forth is no mean feat, but by working together we’ve done it.
“For us in SNH it’s been about making the most of a long disused
part of our central belt landscape that is teeming with wildlife. Now
people can use this ‘green corridor’ to walk, cycle, travel by boat and to
see and learn about nature. This can only be good for business, for
tourism and for the quality of life of those who live nearby.
Millennium Link belongs to the people of Scotland - go and
Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage
“The re-opening of the Forth and Clyde Canal will
create a wealth of opportunities for both local businesses and the
community of Kilsyth.
“North Lanarkshire Council is determined to
take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented by the
Millennium Link project and the Planning and Environment Department will
give serious consideration to canal related proposals.
Lanarkshire Council is delighted to play its part in this historic
occasion and celebrations to mark the canal’s re-opening have already been
planned throughout June in conjunction with the local
“The re-opening of the canal is the beginning of a new
era which will put Kilsyth firmly on the map. I hope visitors and
developers take the opportunity to visit the area and see first hand what
Kilsyth has to offer.”
David Porch, Director of Planning and
North Lanarkshire Council
rejuvenation of Scotland's canal network offers exciting opportunities for
the communities of East Dunbartonshire and marks the start of another
chapter in the long history of the country's waterways.
ambitious Millennium Link project demonstrates what can be achieved by
partnership working and I am delighted that it is making such great
"East Dunbartonshire once relied heavily on its canal for
industry and transport and we are now being given a chance to expand our
leisure and tourism activities around the canals making them places of
recreation for local people and visitors alike.
"I am honoured to
be a part of these historic celebrations to mark the reopening of the
Forth & Clyde Canal."
Provost Robin McSkimming
“Once again residents in the Clydebank
area are privileged to be able to observe history in the making. This area
has witnessed so many momentous events and here is another unfolding
before us - the reinstatement of a link between the Atlantic Ocean and the
“This is an exciting development which is expected to
create a significant number of employment opportunities and we are
delighted to be involved.”
Provost Alastair Macdonald
“The reopening of the Forth &
Clyde Canal confirms that Scotland is undergoing a true canal renaissance.
The successful restoration of the canal corridor has been achieved through
partnership working and it is important that this is continued in the
“This is however the beginning of the regeneration
programme, not the end. The inland waterways are part of our national
fabric. Working in partnership The Waterways Trust Scotland will strive to
conserve and protect this asset and to ensure that all sectors of the
community derive new benefit and enjoyment from the reopened waterway. The
waterways are uniquely inclusive and provide opportunities for everyone.
Our aim now is to help provide new facilities for public access,
recreation, navigation, education, to support continuing environmental
improvement and to secure economic improvement from the newly opened
Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive
2001 – Opening year!
Now entering the final year of construction, The Millennium Link
project will soon see the restoration of navigation between the River
Forth and the River Clyde, and between the great cities of Edinburgh and
By February 2001 more than £60m had been spent on
construction works. A total of 24 bridges have been constructed and opened
to traffic, 2 opening bridges have been re-commissioned, 9 new locks have
been built, and over 4km of new canal channel has been formed. Repairs
have been carried out to most of the 40 locks and the installation of 34
pairs of new timber lock gates is nearing completion. Major works continue
to be carried out in Clydebank, Falkirk, Grangemouth and
(click pictures for higher resolution)
Picture 1 - The construction works at the site
of the Falkirk Wheel are forging ahead in anticipation of the start of
wheel erection in June. The columns supporting the 100m long aqueduct are
complete and the aqueduct channel construction has commenced. The outline
shape of the Wheel basin is evident and the structure of the lock into the
Forth & Clyde canal is complete. The structure of the 150m long tunnel
under the Roman Antonine Wall is complete and is now being fitted
Picture 2 – Almost 800m of new canal has been constructed at
Grangemouth to allow boats to travel between the existing termination of
the Forth & Clyde canal at Ladysmill and the River Carron which joins
the River Forth. A new sealock and an inland lock have been constructed
and the channel will be watered in spring 2001. The picture shows the new
section of channel joining the original canal in the distance, with the
inland lock (Lock 3) in the foreground.
In addition to the
construction works described above, dredging and towpath improvements
continue to be carried out on both the Forth & Clyde and Union canals.
The Forth & Clyde canal is expected to be opened in summer
2001 and the Union canal in late summer 2001. The Falkirk Wheel is
expected to be completed by the end of 2001 and opened formally in spring
Construction Tops £50 Million
By the end of September more than £50 million had been spent on
construction works. A total of 14 bridges have been constructed and
trafficked and 18 bridges are under construction, including 2 opening
bridges. Nine new locks are under construction and most of the original 40
locks have been refurbished. Major works are being carried out in
Clydebank, Glasgow, Kirkintilloch, Castlecary, Falkirk, Grangemouth and
(click pictures for higher resolution)
Falkirk Interchange site continues to see good progress. The breakthrough
of the tunnel under the Antonine Wall was achieved on the 10th August 2000
and formation of the canal channel within the tunnel is now well advanced.
Work continues on aqueduct, bridge and lock construction on the extension
to the Union Canal; piling for the piers of the main aqueduct and Wheel
supports has been completed; the Wheel basin is being formed and the lock
into the Forth & Clyde Canal is under construction. Erection of the
Wheel is due to start in June 2001.
Dredging plant continues to
improve navigation in both canals,the Union Canal towpath has been
upgraded over most of its length and improvements are now underway to the
towpath on the Forth & Clyde Canal.
Next summer will see
boats passing through the Forth & Clyde Canal from one side of the
country to the other for the first time in more than 30 years.
Construction Activity Making Good
At the end of March 2000 construction activity on The Millennium Link
could be seen across the breadth of Scotland at sites in Clydebank,
Glasgow, Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Castlecary, Falkirk, Grangemouth,
West Lothian and Edinburgh.
A total of
20 bridges and 5 locks were under construction, repair works were being
carried out on existing locks, dredging plant continued to improve
navigation, and around 30km of towpath upgrading was nearing completion.
Fun Day Celebrations at Broxburn and
of the completion of the first construction contract, which has allowed
boats to navigate under the M8 for the first time, a fun day was held on
Sunday 7 May. Hundreds of people watched the boats assemble at Port Buchan
in Broxburn before proceeding in convoy to the M8 where a ceremonial
'touching of bows' took place to mark the re-joining of the stretches of
the Union canal which had been separated by the M8.
All Fun Day
photos courtesy of Guthrie Hutton
On a gloriously sunny day, people
lined the route and were joined by walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs and
prams. From the M8, the parade of boats into Ratho for the evening
celebrations covered more than a mile.
Distance cruising is now a
reality, and suddenly new potential is released.
Leni Schwendinger - Water above Water
New York artist's contribution to Glasgow 1999 year of
architecture and design , at Maryhill Locks on the Forth & Clyde
Leni Schwendinger is an internationally renowned
artist based in New York. Her artworks and installations add an artist's
contribution to discussions on changing urban environments. She was
invited by arts organisation IPA to create; "a new artwork of
local, national and international significance to coincide with Glasgow
1999, Year of Architecture and Design".
From the outset she was
determined to conduct the debate outside the gallery and outside the city
centre " where the people lived ". She felt the fluctuating circumstances
of communities in Springburn, Maryhill, Royston and Possil had much to
offer a debate on Glasgow's built environment. Often ‘frozen out’ of
cultural discussions, events like the year of Architecture and Design
provide an important opportunity to draw attention to the aspirations of
the City's peripheral communities.
The Year of Architecture and
Design and the area's industrial heritage provided the platform and the
context to instigate dialogue with the outside world, to discuss local
issues by looking outward; further afield.
"My project for
IPA and Glasgow 1999 uses a site on Forth & Clyde canal as the
starting point to deconstruct north Glasgow's changing built environment,
the social issues inextricably linked to18th century urban planning,
architecture & civil engineering."
culminated in two 'performances' of Water above Water on Friday 28 and
Saturday 29 May.
Water above Water created a series of spectacular
light installations drawing a local, national and international audience
to a 1,000 foot configuration of landmarked locks and aqueducts in
Maryhill, north Glasgow.
Entering off the Maryhill Road the viewer
was able to survey the landscape. A white-railway fence defines the slope
of the Kelvin Valley and the edges of the Forth & Clyde Canal.
As the sun set a myriad of small floating objects become visible.
At each canal basin, boat builders young and old are floating their light
emitting and reflecting craft. At Basin 4, the junction with the rest of
the waterway, a British Waterways craft with illuminated construction
Descending the Kelvin
Walkway path toward the massive aqueduct arches, viewers were drawn to
mysterious lighting patterns. Suddenly, the illuminated barge glides by
above their heads.
Above ground, at the locks, splashing water
rushes through the gates, blocked so that the water level rises to reveal
an array of lighting patterns ."
The Forth & Clyde canal formed
an important commercial transport corridor across Scotland for nearly two
centuries. The canal was victim of the roads culture of the 1960's but the
£78 million The Millennium Link project aims to once again provide
navigable water linkages between Edinburgh & Glasgow, and their
respective Forth and Clyde Rivers.
It was the spirit of renewed
optimism created by The Millennium Link plans to reactivate the canal,
that attracted Leni Schwendinger to the Maryhill Locks and Kelvin
Here is a small selection of the many stunning
photographs taken at Maryhill Locks and the Kelvin Aqueduct.
information on the project and the forthcoming Water above Water website,
contact IPA 17 Bernard Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6
tel. 0131 555 0045 fax 0131 554 1850
Leni Schwendinger - Water above
water, a road and rail in between" is a literary description of the
Maryhill coat-of-arms depicting the Kelvin aqueduct and the Kelvin river
The Maryhill canal site reveals a heroic plot, 700 muddy,
poverty-stricken workers and tradesmen, huge financial risks - soothed by
monies "forfeited" by the Highlanders engaging in the Rebellions of 1715
and 1745. The Highland plot-line is revived by late-century intrigues of
Highlander deportations via the Kelvin Aqueduct, to this day the site is
known locally as the 'Botany'.
Although once famed in the 18th
century as an "astonishing" feat of engineering, and as a ship repair hub,
few Glaswegians know the Kelvin Lock complex today, and the ones that I
spoke to who did considered the area to be derelict and somewhat
The Maryhill Locks and the Kelvin Aqueduct, are
landmark listed "Ancient Monuments" of Scotland. The series of five locks
descend towards the Kelvin Valley, each lock interspaced with an
organically shaped oval basin.
The aqueduct was the largest
engineering feat of its kind in Britain in 1790 and inspired thousands of
visitors -- and even poetry. The system of canals were closed in the 60's
and a vibrant canal and barge culture went with it.
of the Forth & Clyde canal was the catalyst for the development of the
north Glasgow communities attracting business first, then people. Leni's
project focuses on the canal at a time when it is once again emerging as a
catalyst for the economic regeneration of the area.
Landscape improvements - training opportunities
A programme for
general landscaping works along the length of The Millennium Link,
combined with training under Government initiatives like the New Deal, is
currently being devised. Working with Scottish Enterprise and its local
enterprise companies, British Waterways are focusing on environmental and
The aim is "to design landscaping that will
give the restored canals visual continuity, while at the same time
differentiating between the more industrial nature of the Forth &
Clyde and the rural nature of the Union canal.", said Lisa Kilpatrick, the
consultant landscape architect. Design work on the towpaths is being
carried out in consultation with Historic Scotland and the provision of
safety rails between the boats and the towpath as the canal crosses
aqueducts is posing interesting questions. In earlier days, simple wooden
railings were used, something no longer feasible in these more
Water safety has been the focus of recent
educational activity, particularly in the 15 primary schools near the
Forth & Clyde Canal. The canal's many potential hazards and activities
are the subject of an interactive talk which was developed by British
Waterways Ranger, Andy Carroll, Harry Mooney of the Health & Safety
Executive for Glasgow and Primary Schools Advisor Eileen McNeil. There are
leaflets and videos as follow-up material.
If your school hasn't
had a visit yet, do not be concerned. Schools in East Dunbartonshire are
next on the list for visits, with Kilsyth and North Lanarkshire following
Volunteers working hard
The Linlithgow and Union Canal Society volunteers recently spent a
weekend of intensive work, shifting 30 tonnes of stone (with the
assistance of their two workboats, the Alex Inglis and the Slateford).
Working with the Water Recovery Group and Toc H, they were carrying out
repairs to a weir and culvert at Woodcockdale.
Toc H and the Water
Recovery Group are back hard at work on the Forth & Clyde Canal,
clearing vegetation and rubbish from the old slipway at Kirkintilloch. The
workboat they are using, having restored it themselves, was used by the
airforce during World War II to transport bombs for loading into aircraft
and is said to resemble 'a floating skip'.
Scottish Conservation Projects
Trust is always looking for volunteers (singly or in groups) to lend a
hand with the many different tasks involved in restoring The Millennium
Link canals. Last autumn, for example, SCPT volunteers planted 130 trees
and hedges - all native species, such as hawthorn, holly and dog rose -
near the Slateford Aqueduct.
Photo: Jolyon Gritten of British
Waterways with David and Sean, volunteers from the Prince's Trust Team
based at Springboig in Glasgow finishing off a day's work laying setts to
form a lock quadrant at Maryhill.
For further information, contact
Jolyon Gritten, British Waterways' Coordinator of Voluntary Activities,
tel: 0141-332 6936.
BBC filming the Link
As part of a new schools' series (for P6 and P7 pupils, ages 10-12) on
Scotland's waterways, BBC Scotland is filming along the route of The
Millennium Link. The 20-minute programmes, part of the Around Scotland
series, will be screened from 1 November. Two young presenters will front
the series, as they explore the Scottish canals. The first programme will
look at the history and development of the Forth & Clyde and Union
Canals - the men who built them and their industrial use. The second
programme deals with the technology of the canals, including the locks,
the bascule bridges and the design and development of the giant wheel at
Falkirk within The Millennium Link project itself. Other programmes will
focus on the environment, leisure and the future of the reinstated canals
in relation to job creation.
A new History of Scotland's Inland Waterways : canals, rivers and lochs
by P.J.G. Ransom has just been published by National Museums of Scotland
(NMS) Publishing (Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF; 0131-247
The book is part of a series on Scotland's past and has two
chapters on canals, with emphasis on the Forth & Clyde and Union
Canals. Opening with a quotation from 1904, referring to the luxury of
canal transportation as being "quite unrivalled", it refers briefly to The
Millennium Link project, and includes many fascinating stories about canal
travel in the 19th century.
Secretary of State for Scotland inaugurates
work on Scotland’s £78m The Millennium Link project.
On Friday, 12 March 1999, Rt. Hon. Donald Dewar, MP, Secretary of State
for Scotland, inaugurated work on the £78m The Millennium Link project
which is being undertaken by British Waterways. The first contract is
located at Blairdardie Road in Glasgow where Locks 31 and 32 on the Forth
& Clyde Canal, and the associated basin, are being restored and a new
bridge is being constructed to carry Great Western Road over the canal.
The canal locks and basin were in-filled as part of a comprehensive
redevelopment of the area in the 1960s.
The work is being
undertaken as a design-build contract by Morrison Construction/Babtie
From left to right: Earl
of Dalkeith from the Millennium Commission,
Secretary of State for
Scotland Donald Dewar MP, Scottish Director of British Waterways Jim
and Chairman of British Waterways Bernard Henderson.