Dragon tamers take to the water at first Glasgow Canal Festival

Visitors to the Forth & Clyde Canal are being invited to capture some canal magic this Saturday at a fun-filled festival featuring live music, street food, crafts and activities – and the first ever Glasgow Canal Dragon Boat Race!

The inaugural Glasgow Canal Festival, organised by Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council, National Theatre of Scotland, The Whisky Bond, Queens Cross Housing Association, and various canalside communities and businesses, kicks off on Saturday July 22nd between 11am and 5pm at Applecross Basin on the Forth & Clyde Canal and will feature an array of activities on and off the water.

The main event of the festival – the inaugural Glasgow Canal Dragon Boat Race – will see twelve teams from the local community and businesses battle through a series of heats to be crowned the Glasgow Canal Dragon Boat champion. Among those competing for the Dragon Boat crown will be Transport Minister Humza Yousaf, who will take up an oar in the first heat.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I’m delighted to be part of Glasgow’s first annual canal festival which highlights the remarkable transformation of the Forth & Clyde Canal.

“The Scottish Government has provided over £11 million worth of funding in 2017/18 to Scottish Canals in order to maintain and develop our national assets across the 137 mile canal network.

“Our canals and their towpaths help to create events for the local communities to take part in healthy activities such as walking, cycling, jogging, canoeing and rowing across the country. This one day festival is a fantastic opportunity to improve leisure and community activity around the Forth & Clyde Canal and I hope everyone has a great day.”

Those looking to sample the more sedate side of the festival will be able to grab an array of delectable delights from the StrEAT food village, enjoy a range of live music, take a canal boat cruise, try out a free canoe taster session, or explore the history and wildlife of the Forth & Clyde with Scottish Canals’ tame heritage and environment experts. Origami boat design and building classes will also see amateur engineers put their skills to the test as they compete for the top spot – and the glory of creating a vessel that floats!

“From the water to the banks and beyond, the Glasgow Canal Festival will celebrate everything that makes North Glasgow such an incredible place. The area has seen a tremendous transformation in recent years and it’s only been possible with the support of the local community and businesses; this festival is a fitting way to mark the next chapter in the story.

“I’d encourage everyone, whether they’re looking to put their paddling skills to the test in dragon boat racing, try their hand at canal boat origami, or just enjoy a fantastic day out, to come along and make the most of Glasgow’s canal.”

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals on behalf of the Glasgow Canal Project


There will also be the chance to explore the towpaths on guided cycle rides with Sustrans Scotland; dig up the story of a 200-year-old canalside foundry on an archaeological survey with the Scottish Waterways Trust; or even take a class in capoeira, skateboarding or parkour.

Jamie Ballantine, Social Regeneration Manager at Queens Cross Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to take part in the Glasgow Canal Festival, it’s shaping up to be an excellent event and we hope local residents will come along and enjoy a fun day out by the canal.”

The festival celebrates the ongoing transformation of the area, which in recent years has saw the creation of a flourishing cultural quarter featuring the likes of the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera, and the creative hub of The Whisky Bond. Urban sports also sit at the heart of the area, with Pinkston Watersports – Scotland’s only urban white water course – and Glasgow Wake Park located on the banks of the canal.

Queens Cross Housing Association, Chief Executive, Shona Stephen said: ‘We’re delighted to be supporting this festival, it’s a great opportunity to showcase just why this area is increasingly one of the most desirable in the city to live. From long redundant industrial land our regeneration work has really transformed the canal side in north Glasgow into modern neighbourhoods where people want to live and work.’

Full details of the festival and its events can be found on the Glasgow Canal Project website or on the dedicated Facebook event page.

Notes to Editors

About Scottish Canals

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 bridges, buildings, locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 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, Scotland’s canals are now recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year.

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

About the Glasgow Canal Project

The Glasgow Canal Project is a vibrant, dynamic destination boasting world-class cultural and artistic talent, a cutting-edge urban sports hub and major development and investment opportunities.

Focused around the historic Forth & Clyde Canal in the north of the city, it is fast becoming one of Europe’s most exciting places to live, work, visit and study.

A partnership between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Bigg Regeneration, the Glasgow Canal Project is helping to deliver transformational change but it is the involvement of local communities, the creative sector as well as new and emerging businesses which makes the area unique.

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