December was a quiet month in terms of activity on the canal, in part because during the quieter winter months, the canal gets a bit of an “MOT”, with maintenance and repairs being carried out along the network. As part of this process, this year there is an opportunity to…

See the Union Canal as you’ve never seen it before – without water.

As part of its wide-ranging programme of winter maintenance, the water level will be reduced along five kilometres of the 200-year-old waterway at Linlithgow between the 9th of January and 16th February. In total, around 30,000 cubic metres of water will be drained from the canal.

At an Open Day from 1pm-3pm on the 4th of February, visitors can hear from Scottish Canals’ engineering team about how they’re working to safeguard the Union Canal’s rich heritage for future generations to enjoy; take a trip into the history of the waterway with a time-hopping tour of its construction; and have a look at the canal’s 200-year-old infrastructure as it exists below the water.

On the Open Day, visitors are asked to meet at the Linlithgow Union Canal Society’s Mel Gray Centre at Manse Road Basin, Linlithgow, EH49 6AJ. Teas and coffees will be provided. More information can be found here.

During December we had a chance to reflect on our Edinburgh activity this year that has been enabled by Vegware alongside our other funders. We’ve had a packed programme of school workshops, volunteering, walks, talks and survey work.


Crucially we have been able to continue working with local primary schools such as Tollcross, using the canal as an exciting and unique location for curriculum-based learning, encouraging them to use the canal for leisure, pleasure and learning and highlight its importance both as a unique heritage object and as a vital corridor for wildlife.

Primary 4 and 5s from Longstone Primary School became Archaeology Scotland’s first ever Heritage Heroes as the result of a series of workshops investigating the history of the Union Canal with Scottish Waterways Trust.

Our canal adopters Canal View Primary School completed their John Muir Discovery Awards with us.

We supported two Primary 6 classes at Balgreen Primary School to discover more about the Union Canal as they worked towards the Me & My World section of their Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS).

Walks and Talks

We attended and exhibited at Built Environment Forum Scotland’s Heritage & Diversity event in Edinburgh.

We took our canal education programme out to a wider audience with a guided walk in Edinburgh for the Scottish Industrial Heritage Society.

We also talked to other groups in Edinburgh about our work along the canal, including Newington Library, National Trust for Scotland Edinburgh Members Centre and Currie Balerno Rotary Club.

During Edinburgh’s Doors Open Days we led a guided tour of the Union Canal around the Fountainbridge area of the city.


Our annual series of bumblebee and wildflower surveys took us through the summer months, collecting important monitoring data for national databases, enjoying the tranquility of the canal and learning about some very special species.


Adobe’s offices in Edinburgh helped us to keep the canal and its environs spick and span, tidying up the community garden on the edge of the canal at Calders in Sighthill, as it had been getting very overgrown, and getting handy with the paintbrushes to conserve the historic canal bridges while learning about the importance of caring for these structures in the long term.