The Forth and Clyde Canal is a canal opened incrossing central Scotland ; it provided a route for the seagoing vessels of the day between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde at the narrowest part of the Scottish Lowlands. Successful in its day, it suffered as the seagoing vessels were built larger and could no longer pass through.
The railway age further impaired the success of the canal, and in the s decline had ended in dormancy. The final decision to close the canal in the early s was made due to maintenance costs of bridges crossing the canal exceeding the revenues it brought in. However, subsidies to Forth and clyde canal rail network were also a cause for its decline and the closure ended the movement of the east-coast Forth River fishing fleets across the country to fish the Irish Sea.
The lack of political and financial foresight also removed a historical recreational waterway and potential future revenue generator to Forth and clyde canal town of Grangemouth. Unlike the majority of major canals the route through Grangemouth was drained and back filled before to create a new carriageway for port traffic.
The M8 motorway in the eastern approaches to Glasgow took over some of the alignment of the canal, but more recent ideas have regenerated the utility of the canal for leisure use. The eastern end Forth and clyde canal the canal is connected Forth and clyde canal the River Forth by a stretch of the River Carron near Grangemouth. The canal roughly follows the course of the Roman Antonine Wall and was the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland since then. The highest section of the canal passes close to Kilsyth and it is fed there by an aqueduct which gathers water from the purpose built Birkenburn Reservoir in the Kilsyth Hills, stored in another purpose-built reservoir called Townhead near Bantonfrom where it feeds the canal via a feeder from the Shawend Burn near Craigmarloch.
The canal continues past Twecharthrough Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs to the Maryhill area north of Glasgow city centre. A branch to Port Dundas was built to secure the Forth and clyde canal and financial support of Glasgow merchants who feared losing business if the canal bypassed them completely. A bridge crossing the canal to the halls has been colourfully nicknamed "Stabby Bridge" by students.
The western end of the canal connects to the River Clyde at Bowling. InForth and clyde canal 0. The first act of parliament relating to this canal, received the royal assent on the 8th of March,and it is entitled, 'An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the Firth or River of Forth, at or near the mouth of the River Carron, in the county of Stirling, to the Firth Forth and clyde canal River of Clyde, at or near a place Forth and clyde canal Dalmuir Burnfoot, in the county of Dumbarton; and also a collateral Cut from the same to the city of Glasgow; and for making a navigable Cut or Canal of Communication from the Port or Harbour of Borrowstounness, to join the said Canal at or near the place where it will fall into the Firth of Forth.
At first there were difficulties with securing the capital for the work, but soon, thanks in the main to investment by Sir Lawrence Dundas, 1st Baronet"the execution of this canal proceeded with such rapidity, under the direction of [the engineer] Mr. Smeaton, that in two years and three quarters from the date of the first act, one half of the work was finished; when, in consequence of some misunderstanding between him and the proprietors, he declined any further connection with the work, which was shortly afterwards let to contractors, who however failed, and the canal was again placed under the direction of its original projector, who brought it to within six miles of its proposed junction with the Clyde, when the work was stopped in for want of funds, and it continued at a stand for several years.
Robert Whitworth, an engineer possessing a well earned reputation". The work was completed on the 28 Forth and clyde canal Besides the fine rivers above-mentioned [the Forth and Clyde, the canal], is joined by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal, near Falkirk; with the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway at its summit, near the last-mentioned village; and with the Monkland Canal and the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway, at Port Dundas, near the city of Glasgow.
This magnificent canal commences in the River Forth, in Grangemouth Harbour, and near to where the Carron empties itself into that river.
Forth and clyde canal course is parallel with the Carron, and in nearly a westwardly direction, passing to the north of the town of Falkirk, and thence to Red Bridge, where it Forth and clyde canal the county of Stirling, and enters a detached portion of the shire of Dumbarton. Hence it passes to the south of Kilsyth, and runs along the south bank of the River Kelvin, and over the Luggie Water, by a fine stone aqueduct, at Kirkintilloch; it then approaches within little more than two miles of the north-west quarter of the city of Glasgow, to which there is a branch communicating with the Monkland Canal at Port Dundas, near that city.
The remaining part of the line is in a westwardly direction, crossing the Kelvin River by a noble aqueduct, and thence to the Clyde, into which, after running parallel with it for some distance, it locks down at Bowling's Bay, near Dalmuir Burnfoot. The canal is thirty-five miles in length, viz, from Grangemouth to the east end of the summit pool, is ten miles and three quarters, with a rise, from low water in the Forth, of feet, by twenty locks.
The summit level is sixteen miles in length, and in the remainder of its course, there is a fall to low water, in the Clyde, at Bowling's Bay, of feet, by nineteen locks.
The branch to the Monkland Canal at Glasgow is two miles and three quarters; and there is another cut into the Carron Forth and clyde canal, at Carron Shore, in order to communicate with the Carron Iron Works. Though this canal was originally constructed for vessels drawing 7 feet, yet by recent improvements, sea-borne craft of 10 feet draught may now pass through it, from the Irish Sea to the German Ocean. The locks are 74 feet long and 20 wide; and upon its course are thirty-three draw-bridges, ten large aqueducts and thirty-three smaller ones; that over the Kelvin being feet long and 65 feet above the Forth and clyde canal of the stream.
It is supplied with water from reservoirs; one of which, at Kilmananmuir, is seventy acres, and 22 feet deep at the sluice; and that at Kilsyth is fifty acres in extent, with 24 feet. Between and the canal was used for trials of William Symington 's steamboatsculminating in the Charlotte Dundasthe "first practical steamboat" built at the shipyard in Grangemouth by Alexander Hart.
Passenger boats ran on the canal fromand in fast boats were introduced, running from Edinburgh to Falkirk in 3 hours 30 minutes, providing such creature comforts as food, drink and newspapers. From there was a steamboat service, operated by Thomas Grahame's boat Cupid. The canal was designed by John Smeaton.
Construction started in and after delays due to Forth and clyde canal problems was completed in The geologist James Hutton became very involved in the canal between and ; he contributed his geological knowledge, made extended site inspections, and acted both as a shareholder and as a member of the management committee. The Union Canal was then constructed to link the eastern end of the canal to Edinburgh.
In an Act of Parliament was obtained authorising the Caledonian Railway to take over the Forth and Clyde Canal along with the Forth and Cart Canalalthough this did not take effect until In the meantime the Canal company itself had built a railway branch line to Grangemouth Dock, which it owned.
The canal was nationalised inalong with the railway companies, and control passed to the British Transport Commission. In the canal was closed rather than construct a motorway crossing, and so it became disused and semi-derelict.