Carnival to mark Scottish Forth & Clyde Canal reopening

Scottish canal flotilla

Scottish canal flotilla - Credit: SC

A floating festival will celebrate the reopening of Scottish coast-to-coast route in May

The completion of repairs following two liftbridge failures in 2018 on the Forth & Clyde Canal will be marked by a floating festival to celebrate the reopening of the coast-to-coast route in May.

Last year was not a good year for Scotland’s Lowland canals. Not only did Scottish Canals take the power-operated road bridges at Twechar and Bonnybridge out of use on safety grounds, but further problems hit Leamington Liftbridge on the Union Canal in Edinburgh and other sites. And an asset management study came up with the stark conclusion that parts of the Lowland system (only reopened after restoration in 2002) faced permanent closure as the backlog of engineering work mounted. However, three tranches of Scottish Government funding totalling over £8m has enabled repairs across the Scottish waterways to be scheduled, including £1.625 for the Forth & Clyde bridges – where work got under way in February.

The reopening Festival scheduled for the 24-26 May bank holiday weekend will feature a flotilla of craft varying from canoes to narrowboats and yachts travelling through the Forth & Clyde, with public events at the Falkirk Wheel, Auchinstarry Marina and Kirkintilloch. SC head Catherine Topley said the “momentous occasion” would “pave the way for similar events in 2020 during Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and again in 2022 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal and the 20th anniversary of The Falkirk Wheel”.