Tribute to paddle steamer

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The historic significance of the world’s first working paddle steamer and its connection to the Falkirk area will be celebrated.

When the Charlotte Dundas chugged its way down the Forth and Clyde Canal back in 1803 it set in motion a revolution which forever transformed water transportation across the globe.

Now community group Friends of Charlotte Dundas has been given the go ahead from Scottish Canals to establish a trail on both sides of 
the new Queen Elizabeth II Canal as a tribute to the 
vessel.

The trail, which will start just beyond the Kelpies Basin, will tell the story of James Watt’s work on the steam engine at Kinneil and Charlotte Dundas creator William Symington and his pioneering work on steam navigation through a series of illustrated panels.

As an added advantage, the trail will also provide the missing link between two existing foot and cycle paths via a rope walk to Dalgrain Road in Grangemouth.

Substantial project funding is in place and work on designing the illustrated panels is underway with work on site expected to start in the autumn.

Friends of Charlotte Dundas chairman Ken Hutton said: “It’s been our dream for many years to see a great Scottish engineer honoured near the place of his most important achievement.

“It has taken hard work and patience but that makes this all the more satisfying”.