Falkirk Canals

February 16, 2010


Above is just one of the many birds I encounter as I walk along the canal, if anyone can identify the breed, I’d be very grateful. I think it may be a shag or cormorant.

But I digress, as I often do.

For those of you who don’t know, I live in Falkirk (which is about halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh). The television set was developed here, cannons used on ships in the Napoleonic wars were forged at the nearby Carron iron works (giving the cannon the name Carronade). the industrial development of the town (which was more agricultural in nature) meant that there had to be ways to deliver the goods to the big cities. The canals were the solution. The Forth and Clyde runs from Glasgow to Grangemouth and the Union runs from Falkirk to Edinburgh. The Union canal is interesting as it has no locks (or at least it hadn’t until a few years ago…continue reading to find out why).

These canals had once met but not for a very long time and it was decided that they would meet once more (like separated lovers kept apart by geography – so close yet so far) as part of a project at the last millennium (2000).


The frozen water

There is no sign of the swans

They’ve gone too keep warm


The Falkirk Wheel links the higher Union canal to the lower Forth and Clyde. To do it with locks would take a fair chunk of the day. The Union canal had to be extended to bring it to the hillside (through the hillside, which you would see if pic on left was facing the opposite direction. There had to be a new stretch of canal that had to be build (including an aquaduct) and it was on this stretch that two new locks were built, the only locks on the Union canal. The pic on the left was taken (now this will surprise and shock you!!!) during the recent spell of snow and cold weather. Most of the canal was frozen, which was a cause of concern as far as the swans are concerned. Fortunately, there were patches of unfrozen canal where they could swim. (But some of them preferred to go for a walk)




  1. This was originally going to be a blog about my swan friends that I encounter most days, but instead it has turned into a blog about the wheel, ah well, It can act as an introductory piece.

  2. This may not be the post you intended, but I enjoyed it very much. Your voice and personality come through, as does your poet’s soul – who else but a poet would equate the reuniting of two canals with lovers kept apart? I love the photos and tweets that you share from your walks along the canal. I’m looking forward to your blog about the swans. You’ve no excuses now that you have the new computer. 🙂 Dani

  3. I find it delightful and charming… your soul is filled with such sweetness. The poetry of the way you describe ~ “like separated lovers kept apart by geography – so close yet so far” ~ sings to my soul. More more!!

  4. Simon, I love this! And I didn’t know any of it before I read your post, so I’m smarter now. I’m so glad you’re going to start posting. Love to read you!

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