A guide to using Scotland’s canals by boat, bike, boot and beyond launched

Cyclists, runners, walkers, boaters, anglers and paddlers are being encouraged to share Scotland’s canal space with the launch of ‘Boats, Bikes, Boots and Beyond: A guide to using Scotland’s canals responsibly’.

From the water to the banks and beyond, Scotland’s canals are busier than ever, with more than 22 million people enjoying the diverse environments of the nation’s waterways each year.

To help ensure everyone can make the most of their time on and alongside the water, the Lowland Canals Key Stakeholder Group, which includes members from Spokes, Ramblers Scotland, Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling, RYA Scotland, Forth & Clyde Canal Society, Glasgow Watersports and general interest groups, worked together to develop an easy to understand and follow users code for Scotland’s 137 miles of canal network. Centred around three easy to remember pointers – ‘share the space’, ‘drop your pace’ and ‘it’s a special place’ – the guide lets users know what to expect from other groups on and around the canal as well as reminding them to take care, stay safe and share the space considerately.

The initiative was launched today (Thursday 26th May) at Harrison Park in Edinburgh with members of the public alongside representatives from the Lowland Canal Key Stakeholders Group, Bridge8 Hub and local Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart councillor and keen cyclist Gavin Corbett, who was involved in the development of the Towpath Code of Conduct, representing the diverse users of Scotland’s 137 miles of canal network.

Speaking ahead of today’s launch Russell Thomson, Head of Customer Operations at Scottish Canals, said: “Scotland’s canals play a vital role in the communities they run through and they are busier than ever before. They’re increasingly significant destinations for leisure, exercise and commuting and with so many people coming together to enjoy the space it was vital that the different user groups came together to create some easy to understand and follow guidelines which would allow all users to enjoy the space in a fair and responsible way.”

“The towpaths are busier than ever before with more and more people recognising the many appeals of the routes, for walking and cycling, combining safe inner-city travel with the fantastic environments of the waterway.

“Everyone – whether they navigate the towpaths by boot or bike – has a responsibility to ensure they do so in a safe and considerate way. Anyone wishing to cycle too fast for the conditions should use the road instead.

“The vast majority of people are mindful of the needs of other users. The towpaths are a shared space - common sense and consideration allows everyone to enjoy them.”

Marion Preez, representing Spokes and the Lowland Canals Key Stakeholder Group

Notes to Editors

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Union, Monkland, Forth & Clyde, Crinan and Caledonian Canals. As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for 251 bridges, 212 buildings, 256 locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day

The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles. The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year.

For more information, visit www.scottishcanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter.

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