Work beings on restoring historic Falkirk locks

Launch of canal college project to excavate Falkirk lock flight
Launch of canal college project to excavate Falkirk lock flight

Work to restore a disused flight of canal locks is 
under way as part of an 
innovative heritage project.

A group of young people who have signed up for canal college, a initiative to help 16 to 25 years who are not in work, education or training, will carry out the excavation and restoration.

And the work is bringing back memories for Falkirk’s First Citizen.

The 200-year-old lock flight, off Greenbank Road, has been buried from view since the 1930s. The locks beside the Union Canal remain accessible although the lower section of the lock flight, beside the Forth & Clyde Canal, was built over during the 1960s.

Work on it began recently and Provost Pat Reid joined the first group of canal college students tackling the project.

During the excavation, which is being assisted by Scottish Canals’ heritage specialists and Archaelogy Scotland, as well as Historic Scotland, the students and their volunteer mentors will learn how to archive, research and survey buried locks and listed structures. They will also discover more about the engineering behind the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals.

Provost Reid said: “I know this spot very well having lived next to Lock 16 basin for several years as a child. In fact, the area was our playground and I can remember the remains of the old locks still evident in the undergrowth. At the time there was also still a spur off the main railway line, which served the distillery and local cooperage.

“Consequently, this canal college project in particular is of great personal interest and I look forward to seeing the young people in action over coming months.”

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Union, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Canals, canal college was designed by the Scottish Waterways Trust to help tackle youth unemployment.

Karen Moore, Scottish Waterways Trust chief executive, said: “It has been designed to equip young people who are furthest from the job market with a range of heritage and environment skills.”