This week we have walked from East to West along the canals linking
Edinburgh to Glasgow. It has seemed strange to people that we are
heading ultimately to John o’Groats, and has also meant that for the
first time we are walking into the sun – not the best given the hot
weather we have now.
Both the Union and the Forth-Clyde canals are
delightful though. The banks are full of wild flowers, the surface of
the water have families of swans and ducks and there are fish to be spotted in the depths.
There are also exciting tunnels to be passed through. The first (635
yards long) came just before Falkirk and was built at the same time as the canal. Over time it has acquiredstalagtites and calcareous formations on the wall and also a lot of drips and even showers of water from the roof.
The second just beyond
Falkirk has acquired a concrete identity – the path by the water is
smoother – and is not so long. However it opens out on the Falkirk
Wheel which was in operation as we emerged.
The Wheel functions like
a canal lift. It turns carrying 2000litres of water up and a barge,
at the same time as carrying 2000 litres of waters and a barge down.
It is now quite a tourist attraction and you can go on trips.
The watershed between the Clyde and Forth has recently been marked by a huge glistening silver sculpture called ‘Arria’ after Antony’s
mother. She has two pairs of arms and receives water from above and
divides it both east and west. There is poetry affixed to the sides
The first sounds spoken from
the spring’s core area, new beginning of people and place.
Poetry that bubbles and gargles
to the surface to leave this watershed
flow east and west in a rush of words that tumble and fall to join the conversations of two great rivers
A voice calling out ‘I belong, I belong’ adding to the language of sea and ocean
Quite what passers by on the motorway make of her I am not sure but I
found her amazing.
As always we have met many people who have encouraged us en route. So ‘Hello’ to … Alistair and Alan who walked with us from South Queensferry, Nora from South Queensferry and David Cameron the Minister there, Barney and John met at Croy (see tales) who gave us
masses of information about local history, Gordon and Kevin on bikes
by the Union canal, Claire Chris and children Jack and Lewis,
Raymond, all the very supportive people at St Paul’s church Milngavie
and Caroline from St Joseph’s, Carol, David, Lily and Kirstie and
David by the Forth-Clyde canal, Alison and Graham in Kirkintilloch,
Alan and cycling friend Douglas, Sir Bobbie Stewart and also Alison
and Alan at Mugdock Reservoir, Many thanks to Morag and Lacky at
‘Best foot forward’ (very helpful place to stay).
We have passed our three-quarters of the journey completed now as we turned northwards again to begin the West Highland Way – a watershed for us.
Week 17 Statistics
Scrabble: Nancy 4 John 0
Trig Points 1
Kissing Gates 3
En route donations £274 (includes a generous £223 from St Paul’s church Milngavie)
Mileage 74 miles
Bowls of porridge 1
Midge bites Nancy 4 John 0 (same as Scrabble score?)