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Boating Holidays & Short Breaks in Scotland

Canal Boating Holidays

The Scottish Lowland Canals are quite different from the canals typical of England and Wales. The Forth & Clyde Canal is much wider than the average English canal. The Union Canal is a contour canal and has no locks at all nor bridges that have to be opened. British Waterways staff currently operate all of the locks and bridges and boaters are not allowed to operate the locks themselves, although help is happily accepted. Between Falkirk and Glasgow there are 4 locks and 3 road bridges, with a further 18 locks and a number of pedestrian bridges between Glasgow and the Clyde at Bowling.

Both the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals were closed in the early 1960’s and it was not until lottery funding was obtained in 1999 that restoration works rejoined the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal. At a quarter of the cost of the overall £84.5 million project, the Falkirk Wheel is the most significant structure by far, but only one link in the scheme involving rebuilding bridges, clearing blockages and cutting new stretches of canal.

For more facts and figures visit 01324 619888, but in summary the 25m level difference between the canals is traversed via a pair of gondolas which together carry 600 tonnes of water to the 100m aqueduct at the top of the 35m diameter wheel.

There is no charge for the Falkirk Wheel but it is advisable to book beforehand 01324 676912.

Trips operate approximately every half hour from 9.00am to 7.00pm daily, each revolution taking one narrowboat and the British Waterways trip boat. Information will be sent with your booking confirmation

Bowling & return
Edinburgh & Glasgow (start & finish Falkirk)


Click here to view routes from other areas of the country

Please Note

Suggested routes and timings are approximate and will be affected by available cruising hours, weather conditions and amount of traffic on the waterway.

More detailed advice will be given when the boat is collected.

When planning any river cruising within your route, do bear in mind that in some weather conditions river navigation may be restricted, so it is worth having an alternative plan.