Plans revealed for bi-centenary of Union Canal in 2022


18 October 2021
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A group of children and adults on the canal towpath, 1920
A line-up of events is being developed to celebrate the Union Canal’s bicentenary next year.

The City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Canals and partners will join to mark the 200th anniversary of the 16km waterway, which links Edinburgh with The Falkirk Wheel in Tamfourhill and onwards to the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Amongst activities proposed for 2022 are the refresh of the Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy, commemorating the canal’s heritage through various events including a special edition of the Edinburgh Canal Festival in June 2022, and work to secure a new future for the Lockharton Bridge Boat House.

History of the Union Canal

The Union Canal, which is managed by Scottish Canals, stretches from the Lochrin Basin in Fountainbridge to The Falkirk Wheel in Tamfourhill and was originally opened in 1822 as a means of transporting goods. It was closed in 1965 with the advent of freight trains and heavy goods vehicles but was reopened in 2001 as part of the Millennium Link project.

Earlier this year the Leamington Lift Bridge, near the canal’s Lochrin Basin terminus, was awarded a ‘Red Wheel’ by the National Transport Trust, recognising its historical importance to transport heritage. The bridge was originally installed at Fountainbridge in 1906 but was moved to its current location in 1922 when the canal was shortened to make Lochrin Basin its terminus.


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Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: 'It’s wonderful that we’re going to be able to celebrate the Union Canal and its rich historical and social significance. Not only does it shed light on our industrial past but now serves as a haven for boating, walking, cycling and spending time.

'Over the coming months I’m looking forward to getting to work with Scottish Canals, Edinburgh Union Canal Society, our Canals Champion Councillor Gavin Corbett and other partners to finalise plans fitting for this iconic route.'

(Report and image courtesy Edinburgh City Council)