Richard Millar, Waterway Development Manager, British
Waterways Scotland, says:
"The Union Canal is a hidden gem in the
capital and, with a raft of towpath improvements now
completed, it is evident that more and more people are
discovering this and seeing what the waterway has to offer. Indeed,
the Union Canal welcomed over a million visitors last
"Standing at Edinburgh Quay, under the gaze of Edinburgh Castle,
you are so close to the city centre yet it feels a million miles
away. It's the ideal place to take some time out, enjoy a different
perspective of the city, and perhaps spot some of the wonderful
wildlife living in and around the waterway.
"We are indebted to our partners, the City of Edinburgh Council,
Transport Scotland and Sustrans in particular, for making the
recent upgrade works possible and for local organisations, such as
the cycling group Spokes, for their input and support. I encourage
anyone who hasn't visited the two hundred year old Scheduled
Monument before, to give it a try. Check out what you can see on do
at www.scottishcanals.co.uk and pop
along. It's free, stunning and takes on a completely different look
Last year, The City of Edinburgh Council and Sustrans, the UK's
leading sustainable transport charity, jointly funded a towpath
upgrade project which was delivered by British Waterways Scotland.
Funding also came from the Scottish Government's Cycling, Walking
and Safer Streets grant award scheme.
The upgrade work extended over two miles (3.4km) with a level,
robust, multi-use surface now in place between Wester Hailes Road
Bridge to west of Hermiston Road Bridge and between Leamington Lift
Bridge and the West of Viewforth Bridge. Four access ramps were
also included in the project and a pedestrian/cycle route was
created linking the canal to the Heriot-Watt University campus.
A previous towpath enhancement programme in 2009 resulted in a
significant 30% increase in people visiting the canal that
Altogether, over recent years partners have invested over one
million pounds in upgrading the Union Canal towpath between
Edinburgh Quay and Hermiston and the outskirts of the city. Further
investment is now being made in improving the towpath in the Ratho
Now, with the installation of LED solar lights, visitors can
also enjoy the benefits of the Union Canal towpath after
Through a project funded jointly by the City of Edinburgh
Council and Transport Scotland, 560 small, solar LED lights have
been installed between Viewforth Bridge, Edinburgh West, and Allan
Park footbridge, a distance of approximately 3km.
These subtle and compact lights give those cycling, walking or
running along the canal in poor light greater visibility. The low
pollution, directional lights also lessen the need for cyclists to
use bright lights which can dazzle other towpath users.
Installation of the lights complements the Council's Edinburgh
Canal Strategy which outlines a number of proposals for ensuring
the Union Canal is a vibrant and sustainable waterway.
The Union Canal journeys over 32 miles from Edinburgh Quay, near
Fountainbridge, past Harrison Park, through Wester Hailes, Ratho
and Linlithgow. It travels over aqueducts, through tunnels and past
tranquil scenery all the way to The Falkirk Wheel.
After supporting the enhancement of the Union and Forth &
Clyde canal towpaths over the last few years, Sustrans'
incorporated them both into the 754 National Route between
Edinburgh and Glasgow, which the charity launched in 2009.
For further information on the Union Canal, visit www.scottishcanals.co.uk
Issued by Joanna Harrison on behalf of British Waterways
Scotland. For further information, telephone 07884