The Glasgow Bowling And Return From Falkirk.php Canal Boating Cruising Route
Glasgow is one of Europe's most exciting destinations, combining the energy and sophistication of a great international city with some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery.
The marina is adjacent to the magnificent Falkirk Wheel visitor centre.
The Falkirk Wheel is one of Scotland's top tourist destinations and attracts visitors from all across the World.
The Scottish Lowland Canals are quite different from the canals typical of England and Wales.
The Forth & Clyde Canal is much wider than the average English canal. The Union Canalis a contour canal and has no locks at all nor bridges that have to be opened. British Waterways staff currently operate all of the locks and bridges and boaters are not allowed to operate the locks themselves, although help is happily accepted. Between Falkirk and Glasgow there are 4 locks and 3 road bridges, with a further 18 locks and a number of pedestrian bridges between Glasgow and the Clyde at Bowling.
Both the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals were closed in the early 1960’s and it was not until lottery funding was obtained in 1999 that restoration works rejoined the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal. At a quarter of the cost of the overall £84.5 million project, the Falkirk Wheel is the most significant structure by far, but only one link in the scheme involving rebuilding bridges, clearing blockages and cutting new stretches of canal.
If you are going west on the Forth and Clyde Canal, British Waterways staff will see you through Bonnybridge road lift bridge and locks 17 to 20. You therefore need to contact British Waterways (0845 676 6000) about a week before leaving home to let them know your plans. At lock 20 let the British Waterways staff know where you intend to stop for the night, what time you plan to leave the following morning and how far you intend to go that day.
The locks are well spaced out so boaters can enjoy some of the finest views on offer with sizable hills, moorland and woodland providing a very quiet backdrop to savour . You are then on the summit reach with no more locks between here and Glasgow, but there are two more bridges.
At Kirkintilloch it is an ideal place to stock up on provisions before the final section on the run toGlasgow, the canal passes directly through the centre of town which gives easy access to all its amenities.
The canal travels adjacent to the Possil Loch Nature Reserve as it keeps the sprawl of Glasgow to the south, and it is easy to relax and absorb the beauty of the surrounding lowlands and the profusion of nature within sight and earshot of the canal.
If you plan to go into Glasgow (which is the place to stop for the night, even if you are going down to Bowling the following day), you need to take the left fork when the canal splits at Stockingfield Junction.
Down the Glasgow branch you can either moor at British Waterways headquarters at Applecross Street or if you are going to arrive before 5.00pm you can go down to Spiers Wharf.
However, you need to have phoned 0845 676 6000 at least an hour in advance to get the Bascule Bridge opened for you at Applecross Street.
If you are going beyond Glasgow to Bowling you need to contact British Waterways (0845 6766000) the day before you plan to make this passage.
There is no shortage of ways to spend time in Glasgow, once Europe’s city of culture, a large amount of money has been spent redeveloping the city centre and old brownfield sites. There are numerous museums, parks, golf courses, shopping centres and restaurants in and around Glasgow and much of the city centre activities are within walking distance of moorings at Spiers Wharf.
After Glasgow go back up to the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Stockingfield Junction and turn towards Bowling, and soon you will be passing the substantial 400 foot long four arched Kelvin Aqueductand into the a set of locks to the high point of the canal .
Due to the renovation of the Forth and Clyde being so recent the locks on the canal tend to be easily operated and in good working order which is a definite plus point as so many appear in quite a short stretch through Glasgow, the most intensively locked section is around the Boghouse Locks.
The canal now heads through the outlying urban sprawl of Glasgow past Clydebank through the Clydebank shopping centre and the 2 pedestrian lift bridges that can have quite an audience as the boats pass through.
A little further on the canal arrives at Dalmuir Drop, it offers a somewhat unique experience by dropping the level of the canal to give 10 foot headroom for boats passing under the Dumbarton Road through what is effectively a 250 foot lock chamber before raising the water level on the other side back to the original level. The process can be somewhat lengthy taking about 30 minutes but as a cost saving exercise it is successful, the cost of raising the level of the bridge or re-installing the original swing bridge onto a road that is far too busy for that to be practical would be cost prohibitive.
Towards old Kilpatrick and Clydebank, the canal has glorious views of the Kilpatrick Hills giving us a feeling for the rolling beauty of Scotland’s low lying region that the canal cuts through. Kilpatrick is most closely associated with the 500 metre long Erskine Bridge which carries approximately 35,000 vehicles a day between West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire, thankfully due to its box girder design and grand height the considerable noise from this huge construction is cushioned somewhat to those who are nearby.
Soon the town of Bowling is reached with its two basins at the joining of the Clyde, during the period over which the canal was closed between 1963 and 2001 the basins were kept open for the mooring of craft using the River Clyde and as such were in a perpetual state of good repair. There is a narrow channel between the basins spanned by two bridges, one is a swing bridge for the now defunct Caledonian Railway. The town of Bowling offers opportunity to dine out or stock up on provisions in a pleasant environment.