All aboard as boat firm launches new canal project in Falkirk

Falkirk's canals have enjoyed a renaissance since the opening of the the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies. Picture: Michael Gillen
Falkirk's canals have enjoyed a renaissance since the opening of the the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies. Picture: Michael Gillen

Boat loving volunteers are being recruited to make a day on the water even more enjoyable.

The Re-Union Canal Boat company is going into partnership with Scottish Canals to help carry out lock-keeping duties between the Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies.

It also plans to establish a base in Camelon and promote walking trips and teach boating skills.

The latest developments follow a successful two years for the Edinburgh-based social enterprise operation.

Its ‘Canal Community Connections’ project backed by the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund saw Re-Union deliver a training programme on the Union Canal in Falkirk and Edinburgh that helped over 160 enthusiasts earn certificates after learning how to drive a canal boat, first aid and more about the waterway and its history.

Volunteers also supported clean-up events and helped at the Edinburgh Canal Festival and annual raft race.

The programme was delivered in partnership with the Link Group and Prospect Housing Association.

Link’s chief executive officer Craig Sanderson said: “It offered us an excellent opportunity to work with another social enterprise and support some very impressive ideas. We’re looking forward to exploring new opportunities with Re-Union Canal Boats to give a further boost to the sector.”

Pat Bowie, manager of Re-Union, said: “We were delighted with the support ‘Canal Community Connections’ received. The funding allowed us to develop our activities in both Edinburgh and Falkirk.

“Thanks to the work that has now been carried out other projects are now coming on stream for the canal corridor and Re-Union is looking forward to getting them started.”

The ‘Canal Communities Health All Round’ initiative will focus on health and wellbeing - but there will be the chance to ‘mess about’ on boats as well.

The lock-keeping programme will run seven days a week and require volunteers to commit to four hours a week on any day that suits them.

Volunteer development worker Lesley Young said: “Everyone at Re-Union is excited about future plans and can’t wait to get things moving forward. We have our Boatmaster Phil Gavigan and volunteer co-ordinator Richard Fox ready to oversee all the activities we have planned and can’t wait for people from across Falkirk district to get involved.”

Contact Re-Union on 0131 261 8529 to find out more.