BRIDGE 19–40 Union Canal Society runs boat trips from Port Buchan in Broxburn on the Union Canal on the first Sunday of each month from 1-4pm. Trips last around 30 minutes, alternating between travelling west towards Linlithgow or east towards Ratho. Private crewed charters are available narrowboat Bluebell. www.bridge19-40.co.uk.
Enjoy boat trips every weekend until the end of September with the Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS). Short 25-minute trips through Linlithgow depart from Linlithgow canal basin, between 1-4.30pm; also available during weekdays until August 24, 2-4pm.
Cruise the Avon Aqueduct, the longest and tallest aqueduct in Scotland, and the second longest in Britain on a 2½-hour trip leaving the canal basin at 2pm, Saturdays and Sundays.
You can cruise between Linlithgow and the Falkirk Wheel on the last Sunday in August (advance booking essential), either outward by boat, returning by coach; or outward by coach, returning by boat. This four-hour cruises takes you along 12 miles of the Union Canal, across the Avon Aqueduct, through the Falkirk Tunnel and Locks 1 and 2 and either starting or finishing with a transit on the Falkirk Wheel. More information at www.lucs.org.uk.
Still on the Union Canal, Re-Union Canal Boats offers crewed charters from Edinburgh aboard Lochrin Belle, and self-drive day trips on Jaggy Thistle from the Falkirk Wheel. www.re-union.org.uk.
On the Forth & Clyde Canal, Kirkintilloch will be celebrating with its Canal Festival between Monday August 20 and Sunday August 26. Get Active Saturday is completed with an evening concert and firework display, with Gala Sunday offering family activities on and off the water, and entertainment.
The Forth & Clyde Canal Society will be running themed boat trips throughout the week, including family storytelling, breakfast cruises (with fizz!), whisky tasting and fish supper teas. The Society runs regular Saturday boat trips from the Stables pub beside Glasgow Road Bridge, Kirkintilloch, and is offering boat trips, history, heritage and archaeological displays as part of Doors Open Day on Saturday September 8. www.kirkintillochcanalfestival.org.uk and www.forthandclyde.org.uk.
The Glasgow Canal Festival also takes place on Saturday August 25, including the inaugural Youth Urban games. More details at www.scottishcanals.co.uk.
Meanwhile, the BHive Activity Centre at Bowling is offering activities for all the family – bike hire, canoeing, nature crafts and games, raft building, archery, paddle boarding and waterzorbing – daily until August 12 and then Thursday–Sunday until the end of September. More details and booking information at www.scottishcanals.co.uk.
Free ferry trips
Not the canals, but on the River Clyde, the Govan Ferry is free and operates on demand 8am-6pm on weekdays, and 10am-5.30pm at weekends, until Monday September 24. The ferry plies between the Riverside Museum and Water Row in Govan.
The ferry provides an easy way for folk to visit attractions on both banks of the river: the Riverside Museum, Glasgow’s transport museum, and the Tall Ship, the 1896 barque Glenlee and, across the water, the Govan Stones, a unique collection of early medieval carved stones, and the restored former Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Offices. www.getintogovan.com and www.fairfieldgovan.co.uk.
The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative runs guided walks between Water Row and Govan Graving Docks: the Initiative’s Facebook page gives details.
Clydebuilt, a festival of boats, folk and maritime heritage takes place over the weekend of September 15-16 at the Riverside Museum.
On the Saturday, Scotland’s largest open water rowing race, Castle to Crane, sees 13 miles of racing on the Clyde between Dumbarton Castle and Finnieston Crane, in the heart of Glasgow. www.clydebuiltfestival.com for details.