Severed from the Forth & Clyde Canal by the destruction of the 11-lock flight near Falkirk long before the F&C itself closed, the Union Canal is now relinked by Britain’s most spectacular piece of modern canal engineering and a top tourist attraction in its own right: the iconic Falkirk Wheel.
This is an absolute must for all visitors, whether by boat or on land (there are regular public boat trips). Having ascended it from the F&C, a further two-rise staircase takes you up to the summit level that stretches a lazy 30 miles to the centre of Scotland’s capital.
On the way it passes over three superb aqueducts (and a modern one), through a completely new channel at Wester Hailes, past the splendid canal museum at Linlithgow (and close to the impressive palace), and through the unusual ’square-cut’ Falkirk Tunnel.
A week is not enough to appreciate all the attractions that the Union and Forth & Clyde canals offer – so why not set aside a fortnight in the year ahead?