Spring at the basin

Having been snowed off the February working parties, volunteers finally got going in March planting over 70 trees and shrubs on the area that had been disturbed where the new feed had been built. It’s still looking pretty bare there but will gradually fill again. We also plan to sprinkle wildlife friendly wild flower seed here.

The next task was to install a new wonderful (and extremely heavy!) bench in memory of Vic Garner who’s analysis of sediment in the basin ensured that the restoration could go forward. This involved setting stones into the ground and bolting the bench into them. The bench looks great, made from green oak to a very sturdy design. Already well used this should enhance the basin for many years to come.

Holes regularly appear in the ground immediately behind the coping stones in the lower basin area. The basin being sited on infilled land built behind the large riverside retaining wall, holes are always of a concern for water loss, destabilisation of the ground and are also a hazard to walkers. Pablo and Rod have been busy clearing then plugging the many holes around the lower basin arms with puddle clay.

Keeping the lime kilns clear of trees to prevent roots damaging the structures is a never ending job which Martin spends many hours doing, seen here with Steve helping.

The major job has been the assembly of the replica tramway wagon. After much deliberation it was finally decided to have the steel cut in ‘kit’ form for the body of the waggon. This has been assembled in the workshop and is now ready to be moved onto rails on the island, which is due to happen shortly. The gate remains to be made by a local blacksmith and will be attached to the end of the waggon at a later date. The wagon will be left to rust for a year after which it will be treated and painted black and filled with limestone.

In the area between the shop and the containers a group from Alderbrook who come down to the basin every Monday to work have been busy painting the planters and posts close to the shop.

And outside the container volunteers have been getting stones in place for benches to be installed in the new sitting area. The idea is that visitors can sit with a drink or ice-cream while reading the time line. We will be putting in temporary benches while the oak ones are being constructed by the volunteers along with planters which we will be filled with herbs and flowers.

Last but not least we are very pleased to have a new wildlife volunteer who is currently busy spotting and building a list of the birds, mammals and amphibians around the basin, she is also in contact with a lady who surveys for butterflies in the area so we should soon have a list of these too. A wildlife display is planned for the information container with the idea of getting visitors to the basin involved in wildlife spotting.



Weekend Away: Forth & Clyde Canal 6th & 7th October

It’s 16 years since the last weekend walk on the Forth and Clyde Canal. We weren’t able to attend then so it was very useful when Jan accidently stumbled upon the write up of that weekend.

Although Saturday’s walk is going to follow the same route (but downhill this time) we think there are enough changes to make it interesting still for those who were there in 2002.


We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Helix car park FK2 8NH OS ref: 904815 it is free to park here. There are toilets at the Plaza Café, which is a short walk from the car park and at the Kelpies car park further down the road.  We will then take a few cars to the start of the morning walk at Glen Village FK1 2AH. OS ref: 885783

FYI parking at both the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies has a charge of £3.

Starting near the Falkirk tunnel  we will walk through the tunnel and towards the Falkirk wheel, stopping to look at the old lock line and the new staircase locks before passing through Roughcastle tunnel which brings us out at the top of the impressive Falkirk Wheel, in our opinion the best position to view it from. In 2002 the lift and swing bridge were closed and a diversion had to be made, hopefully this won’t be the case this year and we’ll be able to cross the swing bridge..

The original plan was to have a lunch stop at the Union Inn but due to some recent reviews we are considering changing to the café at the Falkirk Wheel. We’ll be checking this out during the week prior to the walk.

After lunch we walk down the 16 locks to the amazing Kelpies and see the new locks and channel down into the River Carron.

It will be possible to join us at the Wheel or the top lock if you don’t want to do the whole day’s walk which breaks down as follows:

Start to Falkirk Wheel 2 miles 5 furlongs

Wheel to the Union Inn (top lock) 1 mile

Union Inn to the Kelpies 2 miles 7 furlongs

Kelpies to River Carron lock 4 furlongs

Saturday Night

The meal will be canalside at The Stables, Glasgow Bridge on the A803 just west of  Kirkintillock (G66 1RH) .


We will need a pre-order of starters and mains. There are several menus to choose from: Monday to Saturday/Fixed Price/Vegan/Weekend treat. When letting us know your choices please also say which menu  your choice is from.


We will meet at 10 a.m. at Maryhill Locks, parking on Bantaskin Street off  Skaethorn Rd according to Bing maps/ Skaethorn Road off Cowal road if you’re using Google maps, Glasgow G20 0HF.  OS ref: 564691 (map attached) then take a few cars to Port Dundas:  Mid-Wharf St, Glasgow G4 0LD.  OS ref: 593666. We hope to have use of the activity centre toilets here.

The morning’s walk will take us from Port Dundas to the Kelvin Aqueduct with plenty to see on the way:  Spiers Wharf with it’s Georgian Canal House and warehouses, Possil Road Aqueduct, Hamiltonhill Old Basin, WW2 stop lock, Firshill Basin timber pounds and the splendid Maryhill locks. This is an easy 3½ miles on wide, made footpaths.

After retrieving cars from Port Dundas we will drive to Wetherspoons for lunch:


From here  we drive to Dalmuir to view the drop lock then carry on to Bowling Basin with its Bascule Bridge, the disused but listed Railway swing bridge, Custom House, the old and the new sea locks and the basins.

As everyone will have their cars at this point those needing to get straight off will be able to do so but there is also the option to join us on a short  walk up to lock 37 which is dwarfed by the Erskine Bridge which crosses the river and canal.

Please confirm your intention to join us with menu choices for Saturday night by Friday 28th September:  janandvernbrown@gmail.com or phone 0114 2864356/07443834997

Hope to see you there.

Jan & Vern