Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Drained canal tours to reveal 'hidden world'

Union Canal at Linlithgow Image copyright Scottish Canals
Image caption About 30,000 cubic metres of water is to be drained from the Linlithgow section of the Union Canal

People are to get the chance to view a centuries-old world that is usually hidden beneath the waterline of the Union Canal.

The water level of more than 5kms (3 miles) of the canal at Linlithgow is to be reduced with 30,000 cubic metres of water drained from the section.

The section will be refilled on 16 February.

It will allow engineers to carry out a detailed study of embankments, repair leakages, and remove any obstructions.

On 17 January, visitors will be able to watch fish being temporarily moved, and see a wide variety of wildlife and habitats on the waterway with Scottish Canals' environment team.

The engineering of the 200-year-old canal will also be explored.

On 4 February, visitors will be able to hear from engineering team about how they are working to safeguard the canal's heritage and take a tour.

Scheduled monument

Richard Millar, director of infrastructure at Scottish Canals, said: "The 200-year-old Union Canal is a much-loved asset that attracts more than 10 million visits each year from everyone from boaters and cyclists to joggers and walkers.

"However, many of them visit the waterway without ever seeing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and below the waterline, to look after the heritage, engineering, and habitats of the scheduled monument.

"The project we're undertaking at Linlithgow is a fantastic chance for the public to see the scale of work that goes into caring for the incredible infrastructure of the Union Canal, glimpse the craftsmanship of the waterway's 18th Century design as it exists below the waterline, and take a tour of the canal's history, engineering, and habitats led by the people who know it best - our passionate and knowledgeable engineers, environmental scientists, and heritage experts.

"We may be their custodians, but these canals belong to the people of Scotland and are there for everyone to enjoy. I'd encourage everyone to come along to the open days to see the Union Canal as they've never seen it before and learn more about the hard work we undertake to care for the built and natural heritage of this amazing asset."

The open days will be held between 13:00 and 15:00 on 17 January and 4 February, at the Linlithgow Union Canal Society's Mel Gray Centre at Manse Road Basin, Linlithgow.

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