Falkirk Wheel to be a start point for large flotilla marking 200 years of the Union Canal

A large flotilla to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Union Canal will take place over the weekend of May 20-22.

By Fiona Dobie
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 4:30 pm
The eastbound flotilla, which will leave from the Falkirk Wheel, will pass across the Avon Aqueduct on its way to Linlithgow.

The eponymous ‘Flotilla 200’ will start from both ends of the canal – at the Falkirk Wheel and Lochrin Basin Edinburgh – and converge in Linlithgow on the Saturday afternoon.

They will meet from mid afternoon at the town’s Manse Road Basin, one of the original stabling and staging posts, and still home to the very active Linlithgow Union Canal Society.

Here there will be an early evening celebration to mark the occasion.

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Pat Bowie, chair of Scottish Waterways for All, said: “The format of having two flotillas travelling simultaneously from both ends of the canal will provide maximum opportunities for local communities to not only spectate, but to get involved.

"A number of individual muster points are being organised where local organisations can host a festival atmosphere of stalls and entertainment, providing ideal locations for the flotilla to pause and join in the fun.

"We are interested in hearing from any groups or community organisations who would like to help out or host a muster point.”

The event is being organised by Scottish Waterways for All working in partnership with Scottish Canals and numerous other organisations.

With the Union Canal connecting Edinburgh to Glasgow via the Falkirk Wheel and the Forth and Clyde Canal, its 31.5 miles pass through some spectacular scenery and over a number of mighty aqueducts, including the Avon Aqueduct between Polmont and Linlithgow – one of the UK’s highest and longest – a true testament to the engineering skills in existence 200 years ago.

Organisers are planning photographic opportunities as the flotillas pass over the aqueducts, to capture this unique event on film and TV.

As Pat says, “It’s not every year you have a 200th birthday!”

Flotilla 200 is just one of many events being hosted to celebrate this important milestone in the history of the canal network.

More details will be published on the Scottish Canals website.

Full details of the Flotilla 200 event and how to get involved can be found at www.flotilla200.live

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