Archive for the ‘Canal’ Category


A bike ride

May 4, 2011


On Monday I decided to go for a ride on my bike. (First time in a while) I rode along the side of the Forth and Clyde canal. Communing with nature on my last day off before going into hospital on Thursday. I passed the Falkirk Wheel (which connects the lower Forth and Clyde canal with the higher Union canal). As you can see, the weather was wonderful.



There was a gentle breeze (as you can see from the surface of the water) which aided me as I rode.



It had been a week since I had seen the swans and so this was a welcome view. It was not, however, my last sighting of the swans.

On my outward journey, the canal was on my left. This was the view to my right.



It was one of those days that I just wanted to keep going forwards. Stopping to see some friends on the way.


And I also saw some cows going for a paddle.


My turning point…


I returned home slightly saddle sore but relaxed. Since then, I have purchased a padded seat cover. I look forward to the time when I will be out on my bike once again. It was fun.


The untaken picture

July 20, 2010

I saw a sight on Saturday that left me wishing I had my camera ready but it was one of those situations where it was either fumble about for the camera and miss the sight or watch and commit it to memory to share later.

I usually walk along the canal on the way to work and encountered some swans. But in recent weeks I had not seen them. I had heard that they had been seen further down the canal but I had yet to see them myself. Instead, I got to see a brood of ducklings grow up.

But on Saturday, I was a passenger in a car that was driving over the canal. I looked at the water but my gaze turned to the path alongside the canal. Walking along the path was a family of swans. There were two adults and about 3 or 4 cygnets (who had already grown to almost adult size). It was wonderful to see them and they were perfectly content to walk up the path ~ an evening stroll. I hope that I will see them again soon.


A Duck(lings) post

June 10, 2010


For those who don’t know, (and for those that do but have bad memories) I live near two canals, the Union and the Forth & Clyde).  To get to work, I walk along  the Forth and Clyde (which, as its name suggests, is a link between the river Forth and the river Clyde). A few weeks ago, I was delighted to see this on my journey…

Ok, maybe I wasn’t so delighted to see the litter in the canal, but the sight of the small feathery puffs was uplifting.  I wouldn’t see them every day, but sometimes I would see them huddled together while their mother watched over them…

I pass under a bridge and one time I saw mother and ducklings having a swim away from potential predator’s eyes…

They are still there, keeping together and hiding in the reeds at the bank when they need to. But I have mostly seen them relaxing on the bank of the canal…

I have recently seen a few ducklings, but not as many as I saw here.



March 11, 2010


A friendly greeting

As I walk along canal

The swans have returned



Forth and Clyde walk

March 11, 2010

Today’s walk was not as long as my walk along the Union canal but I saw something that lifted my spirits


Yes, the swans have returned (or had relocated further down the canal)


But the swans were not the only feathered friends that I encountered

And I also encountered the heron

And a group of tufted ducks

Spring feels as if it is right around the corner now.


Union Canal walk

March 10, 2010

This shot was taken today as I went for a stroll along the Union Canal (the one without the locks, if you recall my post about the canals, and if not, check it out). This canal goes through to Edinburgh and that means I was heading into an Easterly direction. It was a peaceful walk, I could here the sound of birdsong, a robin, magpies and jackdaws mostly. I even managed to get a shot of the less well-known fuzzy robin (so-called because it looks out of focus in pictures).

The weather has improved of late and although today was overcast, it wasn’t cold and when the sun briefly won the battle with the clouds, I could feel the warmth that has not been felt this year. Spring definitely feels close but the trees are still barren of leaves.

The towpath (where the horses who pulled the barges, before they were powered, walked) is on the left hand side of the canal, there are stretches of the canal where there is a path on both banks but the left hand path is continuous.

There also happens to be a long tunnel on the Union canal. The railway line that stretches from Edinburgh and goes to Glasgow Queen Street runs alongside the canal and the rail tunnel is just beyond Falkirk High Station. It takes a few minutes to walk and as you can see, it is lit. On the other side of the tunnel is Hallglen and Glen Village (but I haven’t got a pic of them).

As you may know, I often pass and photograph the swans that I see on the way to my work ~ but I have not seen many recently, so it was a nice surprise to see another of my feathered friends.

This wasn’t the only feathered friend that I encountered.  Here are a few more ~ can you guess their names?

These two birds were photographed at Polmont. A short distance away and the view alongside me looked like this

Not all my feathered friends were water birds or fuzzy robins, 3 great tits flew past, perching on branches but not quite long enough for me to get a good shot.

But there is a danger to the birds who live on the canal

For those of you without large monitors (or if you cannot see the lurking menace) then here is a close up…

I have shown you some of the sights on or around the canal, but what of the canal itself? Well these two shots show the way ahead and the road behind.


While the Wheel was being built, renovations to the canal were also being done. Most of them concerned bridges where the road crosses the canal

I did not go all the way to Edinburgh. I Went as far as Muiravonside Country Park (which, according to my phone, is over 8 miles away). The entrance of which is fiercely guarded.

Muiravonside is a country park with woodland walks where you can see trees like this

And this

I also encountered a whispering friend.

And that is pretty much the end of my journey, it was a very pleasant walk and I thank you for joining me.

This has nothing to do with my walk today but I love this beautiful sunset.


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)