Sunday Boat Trips
Between April and October, on the first Sunday of each month, you can enjoy short trips on our canal narrowboat “Bluebell”.
Join us at Port Buchan in Broxburn between 1pm - 4pm to experience the tranquility of life on the Union Canal.
Trips last around 25-30 minutes and alternate between travelling west (towards Linlithgow) or east (towards Ratho).
Get a chance to sit with the captain and try your hand on the tiller, or just enjoy watching the many water birds as they swim alongside our boat. Don’t forget a friendly wave to other canal users.
Tea, coffee, juice and biscuits are available on board. Booking is not necessary, just turn up on the day and go! Cost £5 per adult, £3 per child.
Towards Linlithgow / Falkirk
Starting from Port Buchan, we travel along the canal in the direction of Falkirk. We'll often see swans along this
stretch, which passes the Greendykes industrial units on your left (where candles were once produced)
and the back of Broxburn primary school on your right.
The first canal structure we encounter is the Greendykes Road Bridge No.27. Constructed by Babtie Group in April 2000, this is a modern concrete bridge approached at an angle. The canal here is only just wider than Bluebell and your driver will need to turn Bluebell on the final approach to ensure smooth passage.
As we exit the bridge the canal widens again and bears slightly to the left. On your left you'll see the remains of the old shale oil mining bings, and on the right is the back of Broxburn Sports Centre, then Broxburn Athletic Football Club ground.
We pass a canal launching point on the right at Stewartfield. This is where small boats can be transferred into and out of the canal, but it can be used as a turning point if the need arises.The original Union Canal incorporated no slipways but this one was added when the canal was refurbished as part of the Millennium Link Project. Continuing our journey around the bend to the left, we now pass beneath Widewater Bridge 28, one of the original masonery bridges at the site of the former Albyn Shale Oil Works.Just before the bridge , beside the towpath, you can see a milestone stating that it is 13.5 miles to Edinburgh. Bridge 28 marks the approach to the turning point we'll use on this trip.
The Winding Hole just beyond the bridge is no longer usable because it has not been dredged for some time so we'll go beyond this to the point where the canal widens. We'll judge the method of turning from the direction of the wind, slowing gradually, then putting the bow of Bluebell into either the east or west bank of the canal as it widens.
Towards Ratho/ Edinburgh
Starting from Port Buchan, we will pull out into the canal to go beneath the bridge under Broxburn West Main Street
(A899) heading South. This takes us out onto a very straight stretch where we can see 2-3 bridges ahead of us as we pass the backs of houses on the Badger estate on the right, and the main canal path
runs on the left.
Our first Bridge is No 25 which takes us beneath a footpath connecting Badger Brook on the West (right) to Parklands on the East (left). This is one of the original bridges, dating from 1822. As we emerge from this bridge, watch out for a passing glimpse the Planet Jupiter as represented by the Kirkhill Pillar Project which has erected all the representations of all the planets of our solar system, centred on the roof of Broxburn High School. You'll see this on your right just after Bridge 25.
After we have passed beneath Bridge 25, we will be approaching Bridge 24A, which carries the A89 road over the canal. This was constructed in the 1930's. Many people think it is wide because it was designed to carry a dual carriageway, however the real reason is that it was designed to carry a light railway across the canal beside the road. The railway was never constructed.
As we approach the bend to the left, the canal becomes more exposed to cross winds and your driver may have to compensate as they try to push Bluebell off course.
Our next structure is Bridge 23 passing over the canal, carrying a farm track. Emerging from this bridge you may become aware of the noise from the M8 motorway, which can now be seen in the distance to your right.
The canal turns again to the left as we continue to head east instead of south. Your driver will now begin to slow Bluebells pace as we approach the Winding Hole where we will turn back toward Port Buchan.
As we progress past fields, watch out for wildlife both on the banks and in the air.
Easter Bunny Boat Trips
Our popular Easter Bunny boat trips run over the Easter weekend. Children get a chance to meet the Easter Bunny and receive a chocolate egg.
Our popular Santa Trips run in December. Aimed principally at children aged up to 12 years old, they provide fun for all the family with a gift for every child.
The Bridge 19-40 Union Canal Society is a registered charity (SC023110) run solely by volunteers and supported by donations and income from events and boat trips.
Santa Boat Trips
Saturday 15 December
Sunday 16 December
4 trips will run on each of the above days at:
11am, 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm.
Book online here:
Weather permitting, our narrowboat Bluebell can be chartered throughout the year for private parties of up to 12 people. Driver and crew included.