Scotland’s newest canal named Queen Elizabeth II Canal

The Queen will formally open the final section of the trans-Scotland canal regeneration and name it after herself. Picture: Contributed
The Queen will formally open the final section of the trans-Scotland canal regeneration and name it after herself. Picture: Contributed
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The final section of an ambitious trans-Scotland canal regeneration launched nearly 20 years ago will be completed next week when the Queen opens it and formally names it after herself.

The final section of an ambitious trans-Scotland canal regeneration launched nearly 20 years ago will be completed next week when the Queen opens it and formally names it after herself.

The half-mile Queen Elizabeth II Canal will form the eastern gateway of the Forth & Clyde Canal in Grangemouth.

The derelict east-west waterway was re-opened with the Union Canal to Edinburgh as the Millennium Link between 1999 and 2001.

Scottish Canals said the new section to the Forth, passing under a motorway and over pipelines, was one of the most complex sections of waterway ever built in Scotland.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are due to lead a flotilla along the stretch aboard the Seagull Trust barge The Wooden Spoon on Wednesday.

The waterway is part of the £43 million Helix park, which includes the Kelpies sculptures, and has attracted 2.5 million visitors since opening three years ago.

Scottish Canals chairman Andrew Thin said: “This event is a fitting culmination of more than a decade of hard work that saw the partners and the local community come together to turn an ambitious idea into reality and breathe new life into the area.

“The Kelpies and the canal they tower over have captured the imaginations of people the world over, but they belong to the people of Falkirk, Grangemouth and Scotland.”

He predicted the event would be a “fantastic celebration of the industrial past and bright future of the area and the waterway that sits at its heart”.

Scottish Canals said the new canal had “transformed the maritime experience of sailors arriving from across northern Europe and beyond, and created a world-class marine hub into and out of Scotland”.

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “The official naming of the canal is another huge landmark in the Falkirk area’s transformation from an industrial heartland to one of Scotland’s best tourist destinations.

“The Kelpies and Helix Park have attracted visitors from throughout the world, shining an international spotlight on our area, boosting the local economy and creating jobs.

“Falkirk Council has played an important part in this transformation, working alongside our local communities.”