Trail Safety

To help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable paddle on the Glasgow to Edinburgh Canoe Trail, we ask you to respect the canals as you would do any body of water and to familiarise yourself with the following safety advice.

To help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable paddle on the Glasgow to Edinburgh Canoe Trail, we ask you to respect the canals as you would do any body of water and to familiarise yourself with the following safety advice.

Please follow this simple code when paddling on the canal:

  • Be courteous to other canal users including motorboats, rowers and fishermen
  • Move to canal right and offer space for other craft to pass
  • Let faster crafts pass at the earliest opportunity
  • Please keep the towpaths clear for walkers, cyclists and works access

Paddlers should also remember:

  • Always wear a suitable buoyancy aid when on or near the water
  • It’s always advisable to paddle with friends so you have assistance if needed
  • Ensure you have suitable paddling experience and safety skills
  • Take a map, mobile phone and first aid kit with you just in case
  • Remember to tell someone where you are going and how long you’ll be
  • It may be useful to take a change of clothes, towel and group shelter too

We also recommend that all paddlers visiting the Scottish canals register with us in advance so we can keep them up to date with information which may impact on their trip or regular usage.

Portage

Portaging around locks on the Glasgow to Edinburgh Canoe Trail is all part of the experience. A traditional skill, portaging can be carried out in a number of ways depending on your boat type, the number of paddlers in your group and the amount of equipment you have. We recommend that all paddlers bring their own portage trolleys.

The first of four short portages is found at Wyndford (Lock 20, Forth & Clyde Canal). For each of these, exit the canal on the north side and portage around each set of lock chambers. Please use the four sets of low level pontoons and steps to assist.

Your next, and final, portage will be at The Falkirk Wheel. Most paddlers will portage the 900m around the Wheel and through Roughcastle Tunnel before launching on to the Union Canal above Lock 2. You will find the portage route on the information panel located at The Falkirk Wheel.

Tunnels

Please follow these basic instructions to safely navigate tunnels along the route.

  • All paddling groups using the tunnel must be led by a responsible, competent adult
  • All paddlers must be wearing appropriate flotation devices with whistles
  • It’s highly recommended that a paddler walks through the tunnel ahead of the group to inform of any potential oncoming craft
  • For all paddling groups going through the tunnel, waterproof head torches, hi-viz vests, glow sticks and a rear light (red light) be placed at the stern of the last craft is advised
  • If you feel you don’t have the appropriate skills to paddle through the tunnel, please portage your craft using the towpath walkway.

Paddlers should keep in regular contact with the Lowland Canals staff and Boat Helpline (T: 07810 794467) for any updates on canal/operations/boat movements.

The Falkirk Wheel

TFW

Portaging around the Falkirk Wheel

Please follow the portage route 2 (as per map above). We recommend using your portage trolleys and working as a team to complete this uphill portage.

Paddling through The Falkirk Wheel

Under certain circumstances, Scottish canals may allow groups of paddlers to access The Falkirk Wheel. If you have prebooked a timeslot, please check in with the Basin Controller on arrival. Paddlers accessing The Falkirk Wheel should portage to the slipway. Please DO NOT access the slipway until instructed by the Basin Controller. Please always follow Scottish Canals Operations Team instructions.

Passage through The Falkirk Wheel should be booked at least 24hours in advance by calling 01324 676912.