Thousands celebrate on the Union Canal

The tenth anniversary of the reopening of Edinburgh's Union Canal drew big crowds on the weekend

Around 15,000 people converged on Edinburgh Quay to watch a spectacular flotilla and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the reopening of Union Canal.

Over 60 modern and historic craft arrived for an overnight stay in Linlithgow before setting off for the iconic Falkirk Wheel on Sunday 26th September 2010.

The flotilla included traditional narrowboats and former fishing boats through to old Edwardian steam launches including The Ratho Princess, which was built in 1923, and a replica steam packet boat.

Organised by a raft of canal societies, charities and social enterprises with the support of British Waterways Scotland, it is the biggest celebration ever seen on the Union Canal in its two hundred year history.

The 32-mile section of the Union Canal underwent a £86.5m renovation as part of the Millennium Link Project in 2000.

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Ronnie Rusack MBE, Chairman of the Seagull Trust, said, “It was a long battle to get the waterway reopened and if it wasn’t for the support of Scottish Government and the former Millennium Commission, we wouldn’t be standing here today.”

“Yet whilst it’s wonderful to see such colour and party atmosphere around the 60 strong flotilla today, we shouldn’t forget that the Union Canal lay derelict until just ten years ago.

“We all need to continue to support and use all the Scottish canals so that we can sustain and enjoy them for many, many more years to come.”

Two million people visit the Scottish canals annually, making a total of 24.4 million trips and the Union Canal is the most popular waterway of all for towpath visitors.


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