Royal visitors heading to Falkirk

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Her Majesty the Queen is to visit Falkirk next week.

Six year’s after her last visit to open Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Her Majesty will view one of the area’s best-loved attractions.

Duke and Baron will be receiving special visitors next week. Picture: Michael Gillen

Duke and Baron will be receiving special visitors next week. Picture: Michael Gillen

Accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, the royal guest will sail on the Forth & Clyde Canal before unveiling a plaque to name the newest section the Queen Elizabeth II Canal.

The VIP guests will then view the iconic Kelpies.

Their visit on Wednesday, July 5 is the ultimate accolade for the Helix and Kelpies, which opened in 2014 and two years ago were visited by The Princess Royal.

Andrew Thin, chairman of Scottish Canals, said: “We are honoured that HM The Queen will be joining us to officially name Scotland’s newest canal.

“This event is a fitting culmination of more than a decade of hard work that saw the partners and the local community come together to turn an ambitious idea into reality and breathe new life into the area.”

The Queen and Prince Philip will board the Seagull Trust barge The Wooden Spoon and lead a flotilla along the new canal section.

They will disembark at the Kelpies pool where they will meet local dignitaries.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, said: “The official naming of the canal is another huge landmark in the Falkirk area’s transformation from an industrial heartland to one of Scotland’s best tourist attractions.

“The Kelpies and Helix Park have attracted visitors from throughout the world, shining an international spotlight on our area boosting the local economy and creating new jobs.”

The £43 million Helix project is a partnership of Falkirk Council, Scottish Canals and the Central Scotland Green Network Trust and supported with £25 million of National Lottery funding.

It has transformed 350 hectares of underused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a vibrant parkland, visitor attraction and marine hub.

The site is now managed by Falkirk Community Trust on behalf of the partners.

Since it opened in April 2014 more than 2.5 million visitors from all over the world have stood in the shadow of The Kelpies, taken its 27km network of paths by boot or bike, or watched boats travelling along the new canal.

The project has boosted the local economy by an estimated £1.5 million per year.