Flotilla 200: Weekend events set to mark 200th anniversary of the Union Canal

Boats and other forms of water-based transport are due to travel the length of the Union Canal this weekend as part of the waterway’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

By Fiona Dobie
Monday, 16th May 2022, 4:30 pm

Flotilla 200 will see vessels start their journey from both ends of the canal – at the Falkirk Wheel in the west and Edinburgh’s Lochrin Basin in the east – before converging in Linlithgow on Saturday afternoon for some special celebrations.

The large colourful flotilla, which will see boats of different sizes, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards take part, is being organised by Scottish Waterways for All working in partnership with Scottish Canals and numerous other organisations.

Members of the public are invited to come along and get involved on the banks of the canal – perhaps walking, jogging or cycling alongside the flotilla for part of the route; taking part in the fancy dress competition or voting for the best dressed boat.

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Two flotillas - one travelling from each end of the canal - will take place this weekend.

The flotilla celebrations begin on Friday when those travelling from the east will leave Lochrin Basin at around noon, led by Re-Union’s Lochrin Belle.

Boroughmuir Pipe Band will be playing before following the boats along to Harrison Park.

The world premier of 14-year-old composer and musician Viktor Seirfert’s composition ‘Union Caledonia 200’ – celebrating the bicentenary of both the Union and Caledonian Canals - will be performed on-board a canal boat at Edinburgh’s Harrison Park at 1.30pm.

The flotilla will then travel onwards to Prince Charlie Aqueduct with musicians on board, arriving around 2pm.

The next muster point is Bridge 8 Hub in Cadder Crescent, before they make their way to Ratho for overnight mooring.

Saturday’s leg sees two individual flotillas depart from the east and the west.

Boats travelling eastbound will leave from The Falkirk Wheel at Lime Road at 10.30am, led by the Seagull Trust’s boat Barr Seagull.

They will make their way to Redding/Brightons where they are scheduled to arrive from 11.30am and depart at noon for Muiravonside/Whitecross.

Once over the Avon Aqueduct, which they are scheduled to cross around 1.50pm, the next muster point will be at Woodcockdale where they will be hosted by 1st West Lothian Sea Scouts from 2.30pm.

They will leave there at 3.15pm to travel to the final muster point at Manse Road Basin in Linlithgow.

Those heading westbound from Ratho will leave at around 10am heading for Bridge 19-40 Canal Society, Broxburn with boats expected to arrive from 11.40am before departing at 12.15pm.

They will then make two more muster stops at Bridge 32, Winchburgh at 1pm and at Narrowboat Farm, Linlithgow at 3pm before the final stage of the journey.

Saturday’s contingent coming from Ratho will be led by Panacea and The Sorted Project.

Once at the canal basin in Linlithgow – one of the original stabling and staging posts on the waterway and home to the Linlithgow Union Canal Society – an afternoon and evening of fun, music and celebration is planned.

The arriving flotillas will be met by the Bathgate Junior Brass Band. There will also be music from Livingston Ukulele Band.

Tickets are required in advance for the evening event including a barbecue and music from Jennifer McEwen Band.

For more details on Flotilla 200 visit www.flotilla200.live