Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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Description: A 35 mile canal, with 39 locks, from Bowling on the northern bank of the Clyde to the southern side of the Forth near Grangemouth.
History: Surveyed in 1726 and 1764, authorised by an Act of 1768, opened in 1790, closed in 1963. opened by the Queen on the 24th May 2002, is part of the £78 million Millennium Link project to restore the Forth & Clyde and the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals.
See Priestley's Navigable Rivers and Canals for more information.
Authorised by an Act.
He surveyed and reported on the line of the canal.
Spring January 1768
Surveyed a route proposing 4 feet deep canal with lock dues of 1.5 old pence a ton.
He became the cheif engineer.
In a report he proposed that the navigable cut at Grangemouth should be deepened and that the upper end should be widened to relieve pressure on the dam.
He reported on the proposed extension of the canal fromStockingfield to the Clyde agreeing (with May Millar and John Laurie) that the western entrance should be at Bowling. He estimated the cost of the Kelvin Aqueduct as £2,000 and the whole as £56,456 or £58,901 the depth were increased to 8 feet.
He suggested that the Townhead reservior and the smaller lochs on the canal route should be raised and that the central part of Dullatur Bog should be made into a reservior by building embankments if the canal depth was to be increased.
He proposed three new reserviors to supply water by way of the Monkland Canal and that the locks should be made for the Monkland Canal at Blackhill, and a cut to connect Monkland Basin to the end of the Forth & Clyde's Glasgow branch.
He reported again on water-supplies for the deepening of the canal. The canal could already draw 2,545 lockfuls annually from the Bishop, Woodend, Gartsherrie and Johnston Lochs, 2,245 lockfuls from the Townhead Reservoir and 300 lockfuls from Possil Loch. He estimated that the three reservoirs east of the Monkland would cost f4,466 and fully satisfy their water requirements. The aqueduct which was to take the water from the River Calder to the east end of the Monkland was to cost £561 and a canal 4½ ft deep from the Monkland Basin to Hamiltonhill was estimated as £2,407.
His constant supervision of work on the nearly completed Kelvin Aqueduct was praised by Patrick Colquhoun, the canal's agent, in a letter to shareholders.
The offical opening of the canal took place and the Scots Magazine reported "In the course of the voyage from Glasgow to Bowling Bay, the track-boat passed along that stupendous bridge, the great aqueduct over the Kelvin, 400 ft in length, exhibiting to the spectators in the valley below the singular and new object of a vessel navigating 70 ft over their heads - a feature of this work which gives it a pre-eminence over everything of a similar nature in Europe, and does infinite honour to the professional skill of that able engineer Robert Whitworth Esq, under whose direction the whole of this great work has been completed in a very masterly manner".
He prepared a plan for the extension of Grangemouth Docks which was estimated to cost £125,000.
The Forth & Clyde Canal. By P Bonthron. First published.