Britain’s most beautiful shortcut bursts into bloom

A burst of colour has bloomed around the offices, facility buildings and banks of the Crinan Canal thanks to the green fingers of Scottish Canals’ staff.

Throughout the months of June and July and in between the bustle of transiting boats, canal staff have been indulging their inner Alan Titchmarsh and planting a collection of buds and blooms – mostly grown over the spring months by the team themselves.

The dedicated and enthusiastic team has been appealing for cuttings and shoots from around the community, and likeminded green-fingered gardeners have provided an assortment of shrubs that staff members have grown over the spring time period, ready for planting to add a splash of colour to the canal during the busy summer boating season.

“The Crinan is rightfully known as Britain’s most beautiful shortcut and the team take real pride in ensuring it lives up to that description. A few years ago we installed our own polytunnel on the canal at Crinan Cottage with the aim of growing our own blooms to plant at offices and facility buildings along the waterway.

“We appealed for cuttings and a few of the canal staff have been cultivating Begonias, Petunias, Busy Lizzies and a whole lot more over the past few months. It’s fantastic to see these beautiful blooms brightening up the canal now.”

Brian MacLennan, Waterways Inspection Officer

The team’s plan is to continue to build on the project in the coming years, increasing the number of plants grown on site and even developing their own grown compost.

Donna Mallan, Customer Service Manager, added: “The Crinan Canal is a natural beauty spot but the team takes great pride in celebrating and improving the sections that they are stationed along. The addition of the plants and flowers really brightens up the areas around our locks, bothies and facility buildings and it’s been fantastic to see the canal in bloom.

“We are delighted that the team is so dedicated and enthusiastic about improving the canal and the experience of our customers. Who knows what the future holds for this project – perhaps next year we can look at attracting volunteers to help bring even more of the Crinan Canal into bloom.”

For more information on the Crinan Canal, see

Notes to Editors


About Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel.

As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for bridges, buildings, 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 22 million visits per year. See for more information.

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals on 07917217608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767383557 or email

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