A Night on the Union Canal

I never expected it to take me as long as a year (almost) before getting to use my canoe on an overnight trip, but last night I finally managed it.

After letting the police know my car would be left overnight, to avoid any kind of worry set off by concerned observers, a friend (Andrew) and I set off westwards from the canal centre in Linlithgow.

Almost immediately we hit a snag, a fallen tree was blocking the entire width of the canal about 200m after we started. A quick chat with some passing walkers had us reassured that this was a one-off, at least for the next mile and we unloaded, portaged and re-launched.

We have done this paddle now three times over the past year and bizarrely what could easily have been the darkest one, was not so, a full moon above us, albeit obscured at times and Grangemouth refinery off to the north blazing away gave us a surprising amount of light. We took our time and enjoyed the approach of more and more ‘wilderness’ as we left the town itself, taking time to enjoy the shifting cloud patterns illuminated by the moon as well as the stunning reflections on offer on the canal itself.

Crossing the Avon Aqueduct, we knew we were close to ‘home’ and after another few minutes paddling, we pulled in to Causewayend Basin, which seems to also be named, Slamannan Basin – maybe I’m incorrect but the GR matches up with another ref. This is quite an interesting looking place at night, off the main canal and very peaceful … except when the odd car goes past on the road nearby. We unloaded and found a nice level spot, quite easy  in the surroundings then got a tarp down and sleeping bags out etc. Home was made and soon the firebox was blazing away.

A couple of hours chat was budgeted for to get a decent amount of sleep but in actual fact we nattered easily for too long and had to abandon the fire at 1am despite having wood left in order not to be too silly on a school night.

Despite having put up my hammock, I stuck with sleeping on the tarp and drifted off eventually (too much tea!) with a view above of outstretched twigs swaying in the breeze and a full moon high above the clouds racing past.

5am soon arrived and we got up, had a quick breakkie and were soon on to the canal for the journey back east. Just an hour later we were back at our starting point and texting home ‘safe’ to those just getting up elsewhere.

The start of rush hour was joined briefly and soon we were back at our respective homes and cleaned up and ready … for work!


One Response to “A Night on the Union Canal”

  1. huntsman leap Says:

    if you still had wood at 1am, you shouldve said ! ah’dv goat ma zippo oot !

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