THE FORTH & Clyde Canal was closed to through navigation in February this year, due to operational failure of two busy road bridges, but exacerbated by a series of lesser issues, minor bridge difficulties, cost cutting restrictions on operational access and a shortfall in the government funding upon which Scottish Canals (SC) depends for half its income.

This dramatically focussed attention on Scottish Canals’ change in focus of the principal purpose of the waterway and their change in prioritisation of expenditure towards social benefit of the canal corridor rather than the core business of maintaining the navigation for recreational boats.

Setting aside the legal and political aspects, the immediate effect is the loss of the Lowland Canal transit facility and the opportunity to make a safe transit from the west coast towards Europe and the east coast avoiding the challenge or excitement of rounding Rattray Head and the Aberdeenshire coast.