Scottish Canals is offering the public the chance to learn about the engineering, history and wildlife of the Union Canal and catch a glimpse of the waterway as they’ve never seen it before – without water.
As part of its wide-ranging programme of winter maintenance, the canal custodians will be reducing the water level of over five kilometres of the 200-year-old waterway at Linlithgow between the 9th of January and 16th February. In total, around 30,000 cubic metres of water will be drained from the canal.
This project will allow Scottish Canals’ engineers to undertake a detailed study of the canal embankments to inform future maintenance of the historic waterway.
As part of the project, two open days will offer the public the chance to come along and see the centuries-old world that is usually hidden beneath the waterline, with Scottish Canals’ engineering, environment and heritage experts on hand to talk visitors through the hard work that goes into caring for the incredible infrastructure and varied habitats of the Union Canal.
On the 17th of January, visitors will be able to see the fish that call the Union Canal home being temporarily moved from the sections due to be drained; explore the wide variety of wildlife and habitats on the waterway with Scottish Canals’ environment team; and see the elegant engineering of the canal first-hand.
On the 4th of February, visitors can hear from Scottish Canals’ engineering team about how they’re working to safeguard the Union Canal’s rich heritage for future generations to enjoy; take a trip into the history of the waterway with a time-hopping tour of its construction with the organisation’s resident heritage expert; and have a look at the canal’s 200-year-old infrastructure as it exists below the water.
“The 200-year-old Union Canal is a much-loved asset that attracts more than 10 million visits each year from everyone from boaters and cyclists to joggers and walkers. However, many of them visit the waterway without ever seeing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and below the waterline, to look after the heritage, engineering, and habitats of the Scheduled Monument.
“We may be their custodians, but these canals belong to the people of Scotland and are there for everyone to enjoy. I’d encourage everyone to come along to the open days to see the Union Canal as they’ve never seen it before and learn more about the hard work we undertake to care for the built and natural heritage of this amazing asset.”
The open days will be held between 13:00 and 15:00 on the 17th of January and 4th of February, with visitors asked to meet at the Linlithgow Union Canal Society’s Mel Gray Centre at Manse Road Basin, Linlithgow, EH49 6AJ. Teas and coffees will be provided.
More information can be found here.
Find out more about the history of the Union Canal.