Virtual visitors invited to explore Scotland’s canals on Google Street View

Virtual visitors will soon be able to take a digital turn on the world’s only rotating boat lift or a desktop trek up Scotland’s longest lock flight thanks to a partnership between Scottish Canals and Google’s innovative ‘Street View’.

Virtual visitors are now able to take a digital turn on the world’s only rotating boat lift or a desktop trek up Scotland’s longest lock flight thanks to a partnership between Scottish Canals and Google’s innovative ‘Street View’.

From Beijing to Barcelona, ‘armchair explorers’ are able to discover the many sights on Scotland’s historic waterways as the nation’s canals are added to Google’s ‘Street View’. The project allows a virtual audience to take to the towpaths of some of Scotland’s most scenic and spectacular locations, from the myths and majesty of the Caledonian Canal’s Loch Ness to the west coast wonders of the Crinan Canal.

Scottish Canals’ Asset Inspection team have been treading the towpaths capturing over 137 miles of panoramic views using Google’s latest technology, the Trekker – a four-foot, 40lbs backpack which has been fitted with a 15-angle lens camera designed to take 360 pictures every 2.5 seconds.

Swapping roads for towpaths, the Trekker is suited to the narrow towpaths and bridges of Scotland’s canals and has captured a range of locations including:

  • Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal, the longest lock flight in the country
  • The world’s only rotating boat lift, The Falkirk Wheel
  • The remains of a WWII “stop lock” at Stockingfield Bridge on the Forth & Clyde Canal
  • Britain’s most beautiful shortcut, the Crinan Canal
  • The world’s largest equine sculptures, The Kelpies

Andrew McSherry, Head of ICT at Scottish Canals, said “Scottish Canals is delighted to team up with Google to bring our 250-year old waterways to a virtual audience. When Scotland’s canals were first carved through the heart and highlands of the nation during the Industrial Revolution, they were considered at the cutting edge of engineering and design. It’s been incredible to see every nook, cranny, and lock captured using this 21st century equipment.

“The Trekker has been ideal for the narrower towpaths and bridges of Scotland’s canals and allows us to show off some of the more hard-to-reach places along the canal network as well as the sights known the world over. We’re delighted to be able to offer virtual visitors the chance to stand in the shadow of The Kelpies or take a turn on The Falkirk Wheel on Street View alongside such sights as the Grand Canyon and the Pyramids of Giza.

“We hope that the Street View footage will encourage new visitors, whether at home or abroad, to explore the spectacular sights and hidden gems that can be found along Scotland’s incredible canal network.”

“We believe the world is better explored than explained. The Trekker enables you to travel to some of the most beautiful places on Earth, such as the Scottish canals, from the comfort of your own home."

Spokesperson from Google

A gallery of some of the highlights of Scotland’s canals can be found at, and the entire canal network can be navigated by using Google Maps.

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.

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