Sailing along the canal is a very different experience to walking along the towpath.
Our passenger boat Bluebell lets people see the canal from the water at first hand and experience the tranquillity of watching the world go by as we pass through pretty countryside.
Roseann is our working boat, used for canal environmental work.
Bluebell is a 35 feet long, 6 feet 10 inches wide narrow boat and has approximately 2 feet draft. It is powered by a Lister SR2 (13BHP@2000RPM) diesel engine.
We obtained Bluebell in a delapidated state. She had been sunk and vandalised and her engine had seized. Founding members of the Society have spent many hours lovingly restoring her from a vandalised and neglected hull to the smart boat she is today, suitable for our public boat trips and charters.
The boat we now call Bluebell started life back in the 1970s in England. She was purchased by Claire Hanmer in memory of her brother and was run on the English Midland Canals.
Hugh Mackay, chaplain to the Order of St John in Scotland was part of the embryonic Seagull Trust, formed in November 1978. The boat was purchased from Claire Hanmer with the assistance of funds from the Order.
In 1979 she was renamed "St John Crusader" at a ceremony in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, and a berth was provided courtesy of Ronny Rusack, landlord of the Bridge Inn at Ratho at that time. She was the very first Seagull Trust boat.
"St John Crusader" was used by the Seagull Trust based at Ratho until 1996 by which time they had more boats custom built and had expanded from one base in Ratho to bases at Ratho, Falkirk, Kirkintilloch and Inverness.
"St John Crusader" changed hands to a community group in Wester Hailes but unfortunately, there was not enough interest and she was left unloved for several years. During this time she was vandalised and sunk several times.
In 2004 the Wester Hailes group agreed that the boat should be made available to a group who would appreciate and restore her and The Bridge 19-40 Union Canal Society acquired her for a nominal sum and renamed her Bluebell.
Roseann is our working boat, a flat-bottomed boat with a canopy and a small out-board motor, used for canal environmental work.
Roseann was the Society’s only boat until 2006 and as such she had to fulfil many roles. We used her as a work boat to collect litter from the canal and its banks, we used her to give people boat trips and she was our main means of raising money.
In May 2006, Roseann started to leak. Investigation showed that her metal base was showing the signs of her age and several small holes had appeared. She was put out of the water on her trailer whilst we discussed what to do with her. She was the Society's first boat and no one wanted to part with her but we couldn't afford the cost of repairing her.
After exploring lots of blind alleys, we contacted BAe Systems in Govan and they agreed to repair Roseann. However, when they saw her, they decided to build us a new boat! This they did to the same measurements as the old Roseann so that her canopy would still fit. We collected the new Roseann in September 2007.
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.