Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway

The Forth and Clyde canal pathway runs between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde and is a 106-kilometre (66 mi) long footpath and cycleway that runs across Scotland, between Bowling, west of Glasgow, and Lochrin Basin (Edinburgh Quay) in Edinburgh. The path runs on the towpaths of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals and is entirely off road.[2] The path is well maintained and its surface is generally good, although there are some stretches particularly between Falkirk and the outskirts of Edinburgh where wet weather leads to muddy conditions unsuitable for road intended bicycles. It is well used by walkers and cyclists, and designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage.[1] It also forms part of the National Cycle Network, being designated as Route 754.[2] Sustrans advises that the path is best followed from the Clyde to the Forth because the prevailing wind is from the south west.[2] Much of the path is also suitable for experienced horseriders, although in some places low bridges, narrow aqueducts and gates may restrict access for horses.[3]

Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway
Forth and Clyde canal pathway
Along the canal pathway
Length106 km (66 mi)
LocationScotland
DesignationScotland's Great Trails
TrailheadsBowling, west of Glasgow55°55′48″N 4°28′48″W / 55.930°N 4.480°W
Lochrin, Edinburgh55°56′35″N 3°12′29″W / 55.943°N 3.208°W
UseHiking, cycling
Elevation
Elevation gain/loss158 metres (518 ft) gain[1]
Hiking details
Websitehttps://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/activities/walking-running/forth-clyde-and-union-canals/

Route of the path

Edinburgh Quay from the Leamington Lift Bridge (composite)
View of Edinburgh Quay. A school party can be seen using the towpath on the left.

Following the path west to east, it begins at Bowling Basin where the Forth & Clyde Canal enters the Firth of Clyde. The canal runs east through Clydebank, Boghouse Locks, Clobberhill Locks, Temple Locks and Maryhill Locks. It passes close to the former Singer Sewing Machine Works which once employed 19,000 people and exported sewing machines all over the world, including many to pre-Revolutionary Russia. At Stockingfield Junction near Maryhill is the 'Glasgow Branch' a spur which originally connected to the Monkland Canal (which connected with Port Dundas, close to the city centre of Glasgow).[4]

From Stockingfield Junction the canal path runs north east, through Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth, to the Falkirk Wheel where the Forth & Clyde Canal joins with the Union Canal. A branch of the Forth & Clyde Canal runs from Falkirk to the River Carron, near Grangemouth.[5][6]

The path continues along the towpath of the Union Canal, through Linlithgow, past the red shale bings which are all that remains of Scotland's oilshale industry, and through the outskirts of Edinburgh.[7] Unlike the Forth and Clyde Canal with its many lock systems, the Union Canal is a contour canal and there is only one lock, located near the Falkirk Wheel.

The path ends at the canal port at Lochrin Basin, Edinburgh Quay, near Tollcross, in the centre of Edinburgh.[8] If desired the pathway can be extended a further 3 km through the centre of Edinburgh and down to Leith and Leith Docks.

Railway lines run close to the path for most of its length. Bowling Station, on the line from Glasgow, is close to the start of the path.[4] Both Glasgow main line railway stations are in the centre of the city, only a few hundred metres apart. The line which has run close to the path from Bowling to Glasgow passes through Glasgow Central Station low-level. The railway line which runs close to the rest of the path runs from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Edinburgh Haymarket Station. In Croy, Falkirk and Linlithgow the canal passes only a few hundred metres from the railway stations. Edinburgh's Waverley Station and Haymarket Station are only a short distance from Lochrin Basin.[8]

The path can be completed in three, roughly equal, sections:

  1. Bowling Basin (Bowling Station) to Auchinstarry Basin, Kilsyth (Croy Station)
  2. Auchinstarry Basin to Linlithgow Canal Centre (Linlithgow Station)
  3. Linlithgow Canal Centre to Lochrin Basin (Haymarket and Waverley Stations)

Places of interest along the path

M8 Motorway and Union Canal
The canal, seen beyond the M8 motorway, deviates northwards just south of Broxburn, West Lothian.
  • The Slateford Aqueduct on the outskirts of Edinburgh takes the canal over the Water of Leith.[9]
  • The Avon Aqueduct is west of Linlithgow and is 250 metres (810 ft) long and 26 metres (86 ft) high. It is the second largest aqueduct in Britain.[10]
  • At Broxburn on the Union Canal the path runs between a number of red shale bings. The world's oil industry was started near here by James 'Paraffin' Young who build an industry to extract oil from shale. The bings are the remains of an industry which once employed 10,000 people in the area. Some of the bings have been removed to provide foundation material for motorways, but many remain.
  • The Almond Aqueduct is west of Ratho and takes the canal 23 metres (75 ft) above the River Almond.
  • The Falkirk Wheel allows water craft to move between the Forth & Clyde and Union canals. It replaces the eleven locks that used to allow boats to traverse the 110 feet (34 m) height difference between the two canals.[11]
  • The Falkirk Tunnel is the oldest and longest canal tunnel in Scotland. It is 631 metres long, 5.5 metres wide and 6 metres high.
  • The burgh of Kilsyth, with Colzium estate and park
  • The Antonine Wall, which is an ancient Roman fortification and wall, seen for example at Bar Hill near Twechar
  • The Kelvin Aqueduct in Glasgow is 120 metres (400 ft) long and 21 metres (70 ft) high.[12]

Alternative coast to coast routes

Sustrans have devised an alternative coast to coast route across the Central Belt, Route 75. This starts at Gourock on the Firth of Clyde and then goes to Bell's Bridge in Glasgow, via Paisley. It then goes to Edinburgh via Airdrie, the Bathgate Railway Path, the Water of Leith Walkway and the Union Canal towpath.[13] This route is longer at 171 miles (275 km) and only 98 miles (158 km) of the path are off road. Another alternative route across central Scotland is the John Muir Way, which runs from Dunbar to Helensburgh, a distance of 215 kilometres (134 mi). This path includes a section along the Forth and Clyde Canal, and is also designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails.[14]

Gallery

Ftof01

Auchinstarry Basin

Ftof03

Falkirk Wheel

Avon Aqueduct - Ftof00

Avon Aqueduct

Ftof02

Union Canal

Forth and Clyde Bowling Basin

Bowling Basin

Forth and Clyde Bowling Basin 2

Bowling Basin

Forth and Clyde Bowling Basin 3

Bowling Basin

Forth and Clyde signpost

Forth & Clyde signpost

Union Canal boat

Union Canal

Forth and Clyde Lock 27

Forth & Clyde Lock 27

Forth and Clyde canal pathway 2

Forth & Clyde

Forth and Clyde canal path

Under the Erskine Bridge

References

  1. ^ a b "Trails". Scotland's Great Trails. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Clydebank to Edinburgh (Route 754)". Sustrans. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Forth, Clyde and Union Canals: Notes on multi-use access – commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage)" (PDF). Scottish Canals. June 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Forth and Clyde Canal: Bowling to Stockingfield Jcn". WalkHighlands. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Forth and Clyde Canal: Stockingfield Jcn to Kilsyth". WalkHighlands. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Forth and Clyde Canal: Kilsyth to Falkirk". WalkHighlands. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Union canal: Linlithgow to Ratho". WalkHighlands. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Union Canal: Ratho to Lochrin Basin". WalkHighlands. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  9. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Edinburgh, Union Canal, Slateford Aqueduct (52727)". Canmore.
  10. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Union Canal, Avon Aqueduct (47842)". Canmore.
  11. ^ "About the Falkier Wheel". Scottish Canals. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  12. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Glasgow, Maryhill, Forth And Clyde Canal, Kelvin Aqueduct (44154)". Canmore.
  13. ^ "Route 75". Sustrans. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  14. ^ "John Muir Way". Scotland's Great Trails. Retrieved 30 August 2018.

Maps and guides

Lochrin

Lochrin is a small area in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is in the south-west corner of the city centre, to the west of Tollcross, and south of Fountainbridge. Lochrin contains a wide mixture of retail shops, leisure facilities, other businesses and tenement housing. Major new office and residential developments have replaced some of the older buildings.

When the basins at the eastern end of the Union Canal were filled in and the canal truncated in 1921, Lochrin Basin became the eastern terminus. At that time, the Leamington Lift Bridge was moved from where Fountainbridge crossed the canal to its current location just to the west of the basin.Lochrin Basin is the centrepiece of Edinburgh Quay, a mixed-use development providing office and residential accommodation and licensed premises, which was voted the Best Regeneration project in Scotland at the Scottish Design Awards 2005. It is also the eastern end of the Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway.

National Cycle Route 10

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 10 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Cockermouth to North Shields. The route is 129 miles (208 km) in length and is fully open and signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 141

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 141 is a Sustrans Regional Route. It is 6 miles long. It provides a connection between Route 14 and Route 72 along the south bank of the River Tyne through Gateshead. The full length of the route is part of the Keelmans Way. It is fully signed and open.

National Cycle Route 155

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 155 is a Sustrans regional route in Northumberland. Running from the North Sea coast at Newbiggin due west to Morpeth. The 90% of this 8 mile route uses shared cycle/pedstrian verge-side paths. There is a small on road section in Ashington. The route is fully signed and open.

National Cycle Route 164

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 164 is a Sustrans regional route in the Yorkshire Wolds. The Northern section between Pocklington and Hutton Cranswick is part of the Way of the Roses, opened in 2010. The southern section links Beverley and Kiplingcotes via Newbold. Both sections are key parts of the 146 mile Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route, opened in 2011. It is fully open and signed.

National Cycle Route 165

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 165 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Barnard Castle to Whitby. The route is 74 miles (119 km) in length and is fully open and signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 166

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 166 is a Sustrans regional route in the Yorkshire Wolds between Kirkham and Hunmanby. It is one of 5 NCN routes that make up the 146 mile Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route. Created in 2011 it is fully open and signed.

National Cycle Route 167

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 167 is a Sustrans regional route in the Yorkshire Wolds between Kirkham and Huggate. It is one of 5 NCN routes that make up the 146 mile Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route. Created in 2011 it is fully open and signed.

National Cycle Route 169

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 169 is a Sustrans Regional Route that runs through Scunthorpe . It is 5 miles (8.0 km), fully open and signed. It is also known as the Scunthorpe Ridgeway.

National Cycle Route 27

Route 27 of the National Cycle Network (NCN) is in Devon in south-west England and runs from the north coast of the county in Ilfracombe down to the south coast in Plymouth. It skirts the National Parks of both Exmoor and Dartmoor and incorporates part of the Tarka Trail in the north, The Granite Way from Okehampton to Lydford and Drake's Trail from Tavistock to Plymouth.

National Cycle Route 62

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 62 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Fleetwood to Selby. As of 2018 the route has a missing section between Preston and Southport but is otherwise open and signed.

National Cycle Route 647

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 647 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Clumber Park to Harby 53.233°N 0.683°W / 53.233; -0.683. The route is 19.6 miles (31.5 km) in length and is fully open and signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 648

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 648 is a Sustrans National Route that connects Bakewell to Sherwood Forest. The route has opened between Sherwood Forest and Shirebrook and is 5 miles (8.0 km) in length and is signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 657

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 657 is a loop of the White Rose cycle route, NCN 65. It branches off the main route to connect the town of Thirsk to the National Cycle Network. Prior to 2009 the route had been signed as part of NCN 65.

The combination of NCN 657 and a section of NCN 65 creates a circular route from Thirsk to Kirkby Knowle to Coxwold to Easingwold and returning to Thirsk.

National Cycle Route 658

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 658 is a Sustrans Regional Route. It is 2 miles long. It provides a connection between Route 65 and Route 66 through York city centre. The full length of the route is part of the Way of the Roses. It is fully signed and open.

National Cycle Route 665

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 665 is a Sustrans route from Wetherby to South West York. Two sections of the route are open. As of summer 2017 the route is not fully signed. The central section between Tadcaster and Thorp Arch Trading Estate is still a proposal.

National Cycle Route 688

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 688 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Winterburn to Linton-on-Ouse. It is 55 miles (89 km), fully open and signed.

National Cycle Route 71

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 71 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Whitehaven and Workington on the Cumbrian coast to Kirby Knowle in North Yorkshire to join NCN Route 65. The route is fully open and signed in both directions.

Scottish National Trail

The Scottish National Trail is a 864-kilometre (537 mi) long-distance trail between Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders, and Cape Wrath in the far north of the Scottish Highlands.

The trail starts in Kirk Yetholm, at the end of the Pennine Way. The route combines sections of other well known long distance walking routes including St Cuthbert's Way, the Southern Upland Way, the Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway, the West Highland Way, the Rob Roy Way and the Cape Wrath Trail.Created by walker Cameron McNeish, it is the first walking route to run the length of Scotland. The route takes two months to walk. McNeish said he was inspired to launch the trail after visiting Nepal in 2011, when they had just announced the creation of the Great Himalayan Trail. The trail was officially launched on 30 October 2012 by First Minister Alex Salmond.

National Trails
(England and Wales)
Scotland's Great Trails
Long-distance path
(Northern Ireland)
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