Activity trail offers special Canal Encounters on Falkirk district waterway

The banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal are set to come alive in weird and wonderful ways this August.

By Fiona Dobie
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 4:30 pm
Using the free Falkirk Explored app, visitors and locals can follow the trail at their own pace.
Using the free Falkirk Explored app, visitors and locals can follow the trail at their own pace.

Real life and the imaginary will come together along the four mile stretch between The Helix and The Falkirk Wheel through Canal Encounters, a vibrant activity trail featuring interactive art installations, audio guides, augmented reality hot spots and more.

Between Sunday, August 1 and Sunday, August 29 the specially created, self-led walking, cycling, paddling, boating or wheeling trail will bring together art, community participation and digitial innovation.

Canal Encounters has been designed with Covid-19 restrictions and current Scottish Government guidelines in mind and participants only require a mobile phone with the free Falkirk Explored app downloaded to enjoy the full experience.

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The trail, which runs for four miles, offers some special encounters as real life and imagination combine.

David Blair, director of revenue and regeneration for Scottish Canals, said the safety of customers, staff and visitors has been of “paramount importance” over the last year.

He said: “In some areas of our canal network we’ve seen an increase of up to 200 per cent in people getting out and enjoying our blue and green spaces.

"We want to keep encouraging people to get out locally and enjoy what’s on their doorsteps safely.

"The trail has been designed with that ethos in mind and we can’t wait to hear our visitors’ favourite canal encounters this August.”

The trail offers people the chance to learn more about the heritage and environment of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The Canal Encounters trail has been organised by Falkirk Community Trust, Scottish Canals and Great Place Falkirk and is part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 celebrations.

Whilst the core activity trail will run every day, each week will focus on a different theme and there will be additional pop up activities, such as workshops, walking tours and performances to add to the excitement.

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Helen Rashad, project co-ordinator for Great Places Falkirk, which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Alongside our exciting digital trail and art installations, we’re going to be exploring four different themes in Canal Encounters – On the Canal; History and Heritage; Biking and Wildlife and Environment.

Participants can take part in virtual activities on the trail using the Falkirk Explored app, which is free to download.

“This highlights what we have found time and agian throughout the Great Place project – the way the richness of our local heritage and landscape offers such a wide scope for people of all ages to enjoy it in very different ways.”

The trail between the two local landmarks can be enjoyed in either direction, or with plenty of spots to join the trail along the route visitors can choose to take on as much or as little of the trail as they like without missing out on some interesting canal encounters.

Maureen Campbell, chief executive of Falkirk Community Trust, said: “We are pleased to be working collaboratively to create an activity trail to celebrate this central waterway in Falkirk.

"We have been delighted to be working with partners and a range of artists to bring the route to life and hope that it will inspire everyone to explore the route.

“It will highlight the heritage and the ecological significance of the Forth and Clyde Canal and we look forward to locals and visitors alike celebrating this important piece of industrial history.”

Canal Encounters is supported by EventScotland, Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To find out more about Canal Encounters and how to get involved click here

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