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The much-heralded re-opening of the canal took place on the weekend of May 24--26. Over three days the boats transited the Falkirk Wheel, onto Auchinstarry, ending at Southbank Marina, Kirkintilloch. The Wheel slowly rotated and we had our 'wee go' at 5.30pm when the steamboats went into their gondola, then our gondola opened and in went all the 'rowing skiffs'. Just imagine, 8 boats in a rotating gondola. Halfway up, the Wheel was stopped and the skiffs gave an oar salute, the steamboats tooted and Bob's dragon belched his steamy breath.

The Rowing Club's Bob Fleet was, appropriately, the fleet-organiser for the boats:-

coastal skiffs, steamboats, Clyde puffers, narrowboats, and even a dragon (yes, really!) - the Canal Carnival 2019 was EPIC! Everyone helped celebrate the re-opening of the canal to coast-to-coast traffic (with thanks to the additional funding from the Scottish Government).

Drone video: https://scottishcoastalrowing.org/2019/05/30/canal-festival-featuring-scra-skiffs/

Saturday dawned fine; it was a great opportunity to see the boats with bunting and their crews in fancy dress. Then we set off to music and ballyhoo with a long, straight row into the wind. Parts of the canal are SSSIs and there are reed beds and lots of nesting sites so our birdwatchers twitched as we rowed along. After several locks and bridges and 4 hours rowing, we were in Auchinstarry Marina; not much room for the 70-odd boats arriving. A prize-giving, hog roast and ceilidh in the marquee finished the evening. Many boats continued during Sunday's downpour, onto Southbank Marina, Kirkintilloch. "Well done, everyone!". 

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photos by Christine Mincher



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