New hire boat partnership means plain sailing for holidaymakers on Lowland Canals

A new partnership between Scottish Canals and three hire boat fleets has ensured holidaymakers can continue to experience the joy of canal boating on the Lowland Canals, sailing in the shadow of The Kelpies and taking a turn on The Falkirk Wheel into 2018 and beyond.

The deal secures the future of seven staff and the 19 vessels operated by ABC Boat Hire, Black Prince Narrowboat Holidays and Marine Cruises from their base at The Falkirk Wheel. The future of the hire boat fleet was left in doubt earlier this year when operator Capercaillie Cruisers announced its intention to stop trading. The new partnership means holidaymakers will continue to be able to enjoy narrowboat breaks on the Lowland Canals.

“We’re absolutely delighted to enter this new partnership, which will ensure the award-winning hire boat fleet on the Lowland Canals continues to offer holidaymakers a unique way to explore Scotland. We’re already looking into ways we can build on the incredible success of this local business.

“Our nation’s canals are in the midst of a renaissance and more and more people are looking to explore the many wonders of our inland waterways. From the world’s only rotating boat lift to the largest horse sculptures on the planet, we look forward to offering even more holidaymakers the chance to enjoy the amazing experiences of our canals from the water.”

Katie Hughes, Director of Estates and Commerce at Scottish Canals

More than 4,000 people take to the waters of the Lowland Canals each year for a holiday afloat, with Scottish Canals aiming to grow that figure in the years to come. The fleet of Black Prince Narrowboat Holidays, ABC Boat Hire and Marine Cruises will continue to be based on the Forth & Clyde Canal in the shadow of The Falkirk Wheel. Prospective holidaymakers can find out more about breaks on the Lowland Canals at

Haley Hadley, Marketing and Sales Director at ABC Boat Hire, said: “We are delighted to be working with Scottish Canals and to continue to be able to offer holidays aboard our boats from The Falkirk Wheel. Falkirk is one of our most popular destinations and customers travel from all over the world to enjoy these waterways.”

Hayley Noden of Marine Cruises added: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Scottish Canals and continuing our holiday hire fleet operation and the prospects and opportunities this brings with such a popular base location and the wonderful routes it has to offer.”

Leighton Jones of Black Prince Narrowboat Holidays said: “Black Prince Holidays is pleased to be able to continue offering this unique boating experience to our customers from around the world. We’re sure that working closely with Scottish Canals will lead to even more exciting opportunities ahead.”

Notes to Editors

  • 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. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • 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
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See for more information

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals, on 07917 217 608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767 383 557 or email

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