It was once used by heavy horses to pull barges laden with the goods and fuel used to power Scotland’s industrial revolution.
Now the towpath along the Forth and Clyde canal is undergoing major upgrading work to allow it to cope with the thousands of walkers, joggers and cyclists that use it on a daily basis.
This work has come at exactly the right time, as the weather improves and more people begin to visit the canalBaillie Billy Buchanan
The £354,000 project will see the often muddy stretches of compacted dirt replaced with a robust all-weather surface on the section of towpath linking The Falkirk Wheel and Bonnybridge.
Work has already began and is expected to be completed by mid-April.
“The towpaths of Scotland’s canals are busier than ever and play a vital role at the heart of the communities they run through,” said Richard Millar, director at Scottish Canals.
“The section which links The Falkirk Wheel and Bonnybridge is a key route for leisure, exercise and commuting for the local community and this project will open up access to it by upgrading the path with a robust, all-weather surface everyone can use and enjoy.”
The upgrading work has been welcomed by councillors Billy Buchanan and Jim Blackwood. The Falkirk Herald reported last year that the Bonnybridge and Banknock representatives were calling for more investment to support the growing number of visitors using the towpaths.
“This work has come at exactly the right time, as the weather improves and more people begin to visit the canal,” said Baillie Buchanan.
“The towpath through Bonnybridge is used by cyclists and runners from as far away as Dumbarton, so it’s welcome news not just for the local community but all towns and villages along the waterway.
“I’m delighted that Scottish Canals have made this investment.”
The work is part of a wider £3.4 project to upgrade canal towpaths throughout Scotland.
“We are hugely grateful to our partners Sustrans Scotland for supporting these important works,” added Mr Millar.
“I’m sure that the improved access offered by these upgraded paths will see even more people enjoy the rich heritage, wildlife and green space offered by the nation’s canals.”