Cross Scotlands Central Belt by canoe or kayak on the The Forth-Clyde Canoe Trail. Much more interesting than the motorway!
The Forth-Clyde Canoe Trail travels 54 miles between the two biggest cities in Scotland and through its industrial heartlands. Throughout its length it weaves in and out of countryside and old industrial town, utilising tunnels aqueducts and bridges that mix ancient history and old engineering with and modern technology and design.
It’s a great canal to paddle as it has few locks compared to some of its industrial canal cousins in the rest of the UK, and it’s location the in the central belt with excellent transport links means that it’s easy to do in a weekend without long travel complications. This makes it perfect for first your first paddle expedition, or for families and youth groups.
The Forth-Clyde Canoe Trail actually takes in 2 canals which meet at the majestic Falkirk Wheel. Coming from Glasgow, the Forth-Clyde Canal heads north through Falkirk and onto the sea port at Grangemouth, while the canoe trail climbs the hill at the Wheel to join the Union Canal and continue it’s way onto Edinburgh.
Glasgow – Falkirk
Starting in the heart of Glasgow the canal winds its way northeast out of the city and into the countryside. Passing under the M80, we encounter the only group of locks on what is otherwise a flat canal. The highlight of the day is the area around the Falkirk Wheel. Built in 2002 it replaces a flight of 11 locks and is the only rotating boat lift in the world, and one of only two working boat-lifts in the UK. At the top of the lift lies the remains of Antonine Wall, the northernmost frontier barrier of Roman Empire, built in the second century. Almost 2000 years of difference between, but only a couple of hundred metres.
Falkirk – Edinburgh
Through the town of Polmont before setting off for Linlithgow over the 250m Avon Aqueduct, the second longest in the UK after it’s sister in Wales. The canal stays high on the hill through Linlithgow, giving fantastic views over Loch, and of Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. As we start to approach the outskirts of Edinburgh at Broxburn, there is more evidence of industry with the great Shale Bings left over from Scotland’s first oil boom hanging over us. From Hermiston and the aqueduct over Edinburgh bypass, we are now in the city again as we work our way into its heart and a well-earned drink in one of the local bars and restaurants.
To ensure you get the most out of your activity, we ask that participants meet some minimum abilities.
- Some canoe experience will help you to get the most out of the trip. If you think you might need a bit more experience before your trip, then we can provide short canoe skills courses.
If you have any questions, please get in touch. We are usually able to accommodate a diverse range of special requirements.
For introductory activities, we provide all the activity and safety equipment you need. With more advanced courses you may be expected to have some of your own personal equipment; see the Kit List for information. Whether it’s the latest gear, great instruction or comfy accommodation, we aim to provide you with the best we can.
- Canoes & Paddles
- Buoyancy Aids & Waterproof Cags
- Day Drybags
- All Safety Equipment
- Storage Barrels / Large Drybags
- Boat Trolleys
- 2-3 Person Tents
- Sleeping Mats
- Stove & Pans (Trangias)
As well as the activity equipment, you can rest assured that our experienced instructors carry all the necessary group safety equipment, and are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy.
Here is a quick guide to what you need to bring with you for the activity. A full kit list is included with your information pack provided after booking.
- Trainers For Getting Wet (Lace Up Type)
- Warm Layers (2 Sets)
- Warm Outer Layers (For Evenings)
- 2-3 Season Sleeping Bag (We can Provide These For You At Cost Price)
- Snacks & Drinks
- Personal Overnight Supplies
If you are struggling with any specialist equipment, then please get in touch, and we may be able to assist.