Video: Get on the trail of the Charlotte Dundas paddle steamer

A trail which celebrates the creation of world's first ever practical paddle steamer is now open and ready to walk along at the Helix.

For the last few years the six-member strong Friends of the Charlotte Dundas have been trying to ensure the major achievement of the world’s first working paddle steamer, created in Grangemouth by William Symington in 1802, is acknowledged and preserved for generations to come.

Friends of Charlotte Dundas volunteer Ken Hutton checks out the new trail.

Friends of Charlotte Dundas volunteer Ken Hutton checks out the new trail.

Now the Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail is completed and was officially opened earlier this month.

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Stretching from the Kelpies and Helix Park along the Forth and Clyde Canal to Lock One and Dalgrain Road in Grangemouth’s Old Town where the canal meets the River Carron, the trail features circular canal paths with interpretation panels, seating, signage and a landscaped space.

Friends of the Charlotte Dundas chairman Ken Hutton took The Falkirk Herald on a guided tour along the trail, giving some insight in to the work involved in completing the five-year project, which cost around £150,000.

Ken said: "We had a lot of help from historian Ian Scott, artist Tom Robertson and businesses including Ogilvy, Border Signs, Signs Express and Eden Consultancy, as well as organisations like Falkirk Council.

"We had to co-ordinate things between Scottish Canals, Falkirk Council, Falkirk Community Trust and Transport Scotland so it was a lot of work. And now it's complete."

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Thanks to sturdy, long lasting display panels, people walking along the canal will be able to learn all about William Symington and his historic creation.

Friends of the Charlotte Dundas would like to see Symington mentioned in the same breath as Scottish engineering pioneers like James Watt and William Murdoch.

It is hoped the new trail will do much more than just commemorate Symington and his vessel, however, it also aims to relate the history of the rich industrial and cultural heritage associated with the canal and give information on the kind of wildlife which currently calls the location home.

Visit the Charlotte Dundas website for more information.