Posted by: christinelaennec | October 17, 2014

Fun on the Forth & Clyde canal path

Our family has recently been discovering the delights of the Forth & Clyde canal, which (as its name implies) runs from the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh, through Glasgow to join the River Clyde.  It opened in 1790, but was closed in 1966.  However, through the efforts of many volunteers it was reopened in time for the Millenium in 2000.  You can read more about its history here.

One Saturday morning, Michael and I headed out early for a cycle out to Clydebank.  It was the first time I’d been on my bicycle for a good number of years.  I was therefore a bit wobbly at first, but it was great fun and I didn’t fall in the canal:


me and my trusty steed next to the Forth & Clyde canal in Clydebank

On our next outing, I was feeling bolder and we went all the way to where the canal joins the River Clyde:


At Bowling, where the Forth & Clyde canal joins the River Clyde to the west of Glasgow.

The canal passes close to the heart of the city.  Below is a photo looking towards Lock 27, north of Anniesland Cross in Glasgow.  I had driven over the canal many times going up to Bearsden, and had seen the canal-side pub called Lock 27, but I’d never come along the canal itself.

There are many locks along the canal, and various watercraft use it to travel.  It was interesting to watch one boat’s crew work the lock, though I don’t have a photo to show you.  One great advantage of cycling along the canal is that the path is level except for gradual rises at the locks (as you see below).  There are no great hills to climb.


Looking east towards Lock 27 on the Forth & Clyde Canal

One of the most amazing things about the canal is the sense of peace and countryside that you have, even though you are in a very large city.

The Dafter also came for a walk with me along the canal, one beautiful day when she had a bit of energy after school.  This photo shows the canal just beyond where I was standing in Clydebank in the top photo:


The Forth & Clyde canal, west of Clydebank

Glasgow reminds me a bit of my hometown, Portland, Oregon, in that while it is a large city, there is a lot of unspoiled nature even in the heart of the city.  My parents actively campaigned for the conservation of Oaks Bottom in Portland, and I am very proud of what they achieved.  Other people similarly worked very hard to clean up the Forth & Clyde canal, build the lovely path, and re-open it to barges and boats.  I really appreciate their hard work.  The path is very well used by dog-walkers, runners, cyclists and people out for a stroll.  (A bicycle bell is essential!) The canal is a wonderful asset for the city to have, and I look forward to discovering much more of it.



  1. Christine, I had no idea that Glasgow had a canal. Thanks for writing here about it. It looks like a lovely place for a walk or bike ride. I admire your getting back on a bike after a while. I tried that a year or so ago and it was a bit of a laugh. I never did get the hang of it and ended up walking with it.

  2. It has been a few years since I went for a bike ride, what a lovely place to go for one, you wouldn’t think you were in the middle of the city.

  3. Good for you for getting back on a bike! I haven’t been on one in years. A lovely place to go for a ride. Glasgow seems a very nice place to live with all of its green spaces.

  4. Very enterprising getting back on your bike. Everyone in the family cycles apart from me, so you may have given me the impetus to dust off my original 1970s model! Tell me, were you stiff afterwards?
    You’ve also given me the impetus to explore the Edinburgh end of the canal. I’m not very familiar with it and I don’t think it has quite the same pleasure boat feel that the Glasgow end does, judging by the type of boats in your pictures. If I’d seen your shot of Bowling in isolation I’d have said it was the Caledonian Canal. My children learned to row (as in Oxford and Cambridge boat race rowing) on the canal. When they fell in their clothes were rather malodorous, and the boats were sometimes attacked by indignant swans with nests along the banks.

  5. Thanks, everyone. I have been very surprised by how many nature trails there are in this big city. It’s a great thing to be able to enjoy.

    Linda, I look forward to reading any blog posts you do of your explorations of the other end of the canal. We have passed a lot of swans, at quite regular intervals of about 3/4 of a mile, on our travels on the canal. I’m not sure I would want to pass them in a skiff in the spring! And yes, I was very achey the first few times I went out on the bike. That was how I discovered that the Dafter is still in quite a lot of muscle pain every day – her 12-mile cycle in August caused her no more pain than a normal day… I’m hoping that has eased for her since then. A good soak in the bath does help!

  6. I think I’d like Glasgow, Christine, based on what you have shared with your cyber friends. You’ve met some interesting people and been to some amazing places. How lucky you are! xo

  7. What a lovely place to go for a bike ride! I can see why it reminds you of Portland. I hate to think how many years it has been since I have ridden a bicycle! I need to do something about that! 😉

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