Tag Archives: scottish waterways trust

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – January Update

The Canal as it has never been seen before

After the hustle and bustle of the festive season January has been fairly quiet on the Canal.   Scottish Canals carried out their planned wide-ranging programme of winter maintenance, with the water level being reduced along five kilometres of the 200-year-old waterway at Linlithgow between the 9th of January and 16th February. In total, around 30,000 cubic metres of water has been drained from the canal.  At an open day on the 17th January from 1pm-3pm visitors heard from Scottish Canals’ engineering team about how they’re working to safeguard the Union Canal’s rich heritage for future generations to enjoy; took a trip into the history of the waterway with a time-hopping tour of its construction; and had a look at the canal’s 200-year-old infrastructure as it exists below the water

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Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – December Update

December was a quiet month in terms of activity on the canal, in part because during the quieter winter months, the canal gets a bit of an “MOT”, with maintenance and repairs being carried out along the network. As part of this process, this year there is an opportunity to…

See the Union Canal as you’ve never seen it before – without water.

As part of its wide-ranging programme of winter maintenance, the water level will be reduced along five kilometres of the 200-year-old waterway at Linlithgow between the 9th of January and 16th February. In total, around 30,000 cubic metres of water will be drained from the canal.

At an Open Day from 1pm-3pm on the 4th of February, visitors can hear from Scottish Canals’ engineering team about how they’re working to safeguard the Union Canal’s rich heritage for future generations to enjoy; take a trip into the history of the waterway with a time-hopping tour of its construction; and have a look at the canal’s 200-year-old infrastructure as it exists below the water.

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Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – November Update

Out and About

On 22 Nov we had our first session of this school year with Tollcross Primary School. The bright and lively P5s went out with Anna for a lovely walk and introductory session to the John Muir Award and their first outing to the Canal. As the local section of towpath was closed for some winter servicing, they instead visited the old North British Rubber Company HQ (soon to house the Edinburgh Printmakers’ fabulous arts venue), and the “Meanwhile” site, with all its amazing community projects – which are about to disappear because the site is due to be redeveloped soon. So the children got to see a bit of Canal community history in the making!


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Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – October Update

Edinburgh Schools

Discussions with three local schools have begun to with the first session taking place at Tollcross PS (intro to John Muir Award and canal session 22 Nov). Most of the sessions at Ratho PS and Canal View PS have not yet been finalised, but are expected to take place in Spring 2017.

Final Survey of 2016

Our October “BeeScene” bumblebee survey saw us welcoming three new volunteers, who remained enthusiastic despite the damp and chilly weather, and the small number of bees we saw. They were keen to learn more about bumblebees and biodiversity on the Union Canal, and to hear about our project, even though this was our last outing for 2016 and we only spotted half a dozen critters to add to our survey record for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT). As far as our citizen science recording goes, however, these are still valid findings, and reflect the seasonal changes in the bumblebee population everywhere.  Roll on next year, and many thanks to all our amazing volunteers for helping us monitor these endearing VIPs (very important pollinators) of the Canal!  For more information on how you can get involved in bumblebee surveying in your area, check out the BBCT website here: here: http://bumblebeeconservation.org/

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Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – September Update

Doors Open Days

Scottish Waterways Trust was pleased to offer some canalside activities as part of Edinburgh’s annual Doors Open Days events on 24th and 25th September, with 23 people joining our Cultural Heritage Officer Gemma on a tour of the Union Canal around the Fountainbridge area of the city

Changing Seasons

Our series of wildflower and bumblebee surveys is now drawing to a close, and the bumblebees are proving trickier to spot as they prepare for winter. Highly sensitive to changes in the atmospheric temperature, bumblebees need warmth to stay active, and so we usually see a decline in numbers at this time of year. There are still a good few of the wee critters around, but they’ll keep a low profile, preferring to stay warm and dry. If you want to help the bumblebees during the autumn, don’t mow your lawn or cut back your vegetation for winter just yet! Bumblebee queens depend on late-flowering species to sustain them during their winter hibernation. And the common buff-tailed bumblebee actually stays active during autumn and winter, and also needs food sources such as ivy, which flowers during September to November, and the ivy berries from December to February help sustain overwintering birds too.

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Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – August Update

Citizen Science in the City:

As our bumblebee and wildflower survey programme marches on towards the end of the season, we had a busy August with two wildflower survey days plus one day for the bees. On 6th August, Anna followed the survey session with a special workshop on an ancient photographic technique – producing pretty cyanotype prints to preserve the stunning canal flora in all its glory.

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Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – July Update

Picture1Hidden treasures in the city: Our summer bumblebee and wildflower survey programme is continuing apace. Anna was out with a merry band of ten volunteers on 16th July, undertaking a canal wildflower survey for which the data feeds into the Botanical Society of Scotland‘s Urban Flora of Scotland Project. And it was a very knowledgeable band of volunteers – sharing their own skills and experience including archeobotany (the study of plant remains from archaeological sites), horticultural plant knowledge, outdoor learning and medicinal herbology, while Sunday 17th saw the second bumblebee survey taking place.

The dates for the next surveys are Sat 6th August (Wildflowers), and Sunday 21st August (Bumblebees). All very welcome to attend; please contact info@scottishwaterwaystrust.org.uk to let us know you are coming along.

Spring Cleaning: A wee bit late for a spring clean maybe, but we have had some keen volunteers from Adobe’s offices in Edinburgh helping us to keep the canal and its environs spick and span. Back in June they spent a morning helping our Volunteer Development Officer John to tidy up the community garden on the edge of the canal at Calders in Sighthill, as it had been getting very overgrown. And on 7th July they joined our Cultural Heritage Officer Gemma, getting handy with the paintbrushes to conserve the historic canal bridges while learning about the importance of caring for these structures in the long term.

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – June Update

PictureSWTBuzzing along the Canal:
On Sunday 19th June we had a great start to our summer survey season with our first BeeScene Bumblebee survey, through which we provide important monitoring data for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. A team of eight volunteers trouped out along the Union Canal in Edinburgh from Slateford to Calders, taking in the lush canalside vegetation in its full summer glory, and were expertly led by Stephen and Willie to identify the bees spotted along the way – male and female common carders, red-tail, buff-tail and white-tailed bumblebees, garden bumblebees and the occasional solitary… It gets quite addictive! Among the merry band was enthusiastic two-year-old Leo, who warmed everyone’s hearts with his excited response to the bees. We have four more dates for the bumblebee surveys, and six dates for wildflower surveys, all in Edinburgh. Anyone who’d like to join us as a volunteer for any of these will be most welcome – all dates are listed in our events calendar on our website here: Scottish Waterways Trust Events
Calendar Canal Clean-Up:
Our Cultural Heritage Officer Gemma has been busy with schools in Edinburgh again this month. She took Balgreen Primary School P6/7s onto the canal towpath adjacent to Harrison Park on Tues 7th and Weds 8th June to do a litter survey and activity survey. Although this stretch of the canal is well looked after, the kids were determined to do their bit for the area and still managed to collect lots of different types of litter to mark down on their survey charts. The pupils also designed their own activity surveys to explore how the canals are used today. They spotted cyclists, boaters, joggers, dog walkers, picnickers and all sorts of other activities – proving how much the usage of the canals has changed since their industrial heyday. We also enjoyed some beautiful sunshine and a bit of thunder!
The canal visit was the final session with the two classes after they had done some work in the classroom looking at the history of the canals and what they’re like/used for now. This all earned them their JASS (Junior Award Scheme for Schools) Me & My World Bronze Award.

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – May Update

This month we have been busy taking our canal education programme out to a wider audience beyond our schools work. Our Cultural Heritage Officer Gemma teamed up with Chris O’Connell, Heritage Officer at Scottish Canals, to lead a guided walk in Edinburgh for the Scottish Industrial Heritage Society.  10 members of the society enjoyed a tour around the Fountainbridge area to explore the history of the Union Canal and the industrial heritage of the local area, including stops at the original terminus of the canal (now filled in), Leamington Lift Bridge, the former North British Rubber Works and a look at discoveries made by archaeologists during the building of recent canal-side developments.  The landscape of the area has been completely transformed in recent years, so it was interesting to see the old alongside the new.


We’ve also been out talking to other groups in Edinburgh about our work along the canal, including Newington Library and National Trust for Scotland Edinburgh Members Centre.

In June we are hoping to get started on this year’s bumblebee and wildflower surveys along the canal in Edinburgh. This is an important piece of work that allows us to monitor numbers and feeds into the national database. We’ll be looking for willing volunteers to help us out throughout the summer and will advertise dates through our social media.

Scottish Waterways Trust – April Update

Canal View Primary School become canal explorers

On 22 April we visited canal adopters Canal View Primary School, in Edinburgh, to present them with the John Muir Discovery Award and to thank them for all their amazing work learning about and caring for the Union Canal!

On the week of John Muir’s birthday, the Primary 5 schoolchildren gave a fantastic assembly to the rest of the school to show what they have learned about the famous conservationist and what they discovered whilst out on the canal during our school sessions with Anna. We’re lucky to be able to run these schools sessions in Edinburgh thanks to our generous friends over at Vegware, who made the visits possible with funding.

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