Walk completed August 28, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 65, Thursday, August 04, 2011 – Broxburn to Falkirk, 17 miles

Bing on far side of canal
I said my good-byes to Ann of the Tartan, but not before she had packed a good lunch for me. Then Dr. George and Lady Ann drove me to Broxburn, and I resumed walking along the Union Canal where I had left off on Tuesday. Just outside of Broxburn, the canal is lined with “bings”, heaps of shale tailings from which oil was taken in the 19th century. Vegetation is now growing on them, and in another 300 years, you will hardly know that they differ from the surrounding countryside.

John and Paul
 The Union Canal isn’t as busy as the previous canals I’ve walked along – indeed, I saw only one long boat the entire day. Perhaps that was due to the weather – it rained on and off all day, and there was very little activity along the canal. The first people I met were John and Paul, out exercising their dogs. Paul is the President of the Scotland Youth Hostel Association, and we had a nice chat as he walked along with me a short while.

The weather obscured the promised view of the Firth of Forth bridges, but the scenery was nonetheless superb.  Indeed, the mist which obscured distant objects gave a nether-world appearance to old castles.

Avon Aquaduct

The Union Canal has no locks. It is a contour canal that maintains the same level its entire length. As a result, the walking was easy, the footing good, and the rain caused only a few puddles I easily stepped over. In order to keep the canal level, the engineers built a high aquaduct for the canal to pass over the River Avon. (This is not the same River Avon of England, which empties into the Severn. This one empties into the Firth of Forth.)

JOGLERs Ben and Tolga
The highlight of the day for me was meeting Ben and Tolga, the first End to Enders I’ve met during my entire walk. They started at John O’Groats and are headed south, camping whenever they can. I wish them good luck on their journey, and hope that they have as much fun as I’m having.

Just before Falkirk, the Union Canal passes through a tunnel 1900 feet long. As I approached the tunnel, a local cautioned me against entering it, “It’s dark in there.” It was dark, but there are some lights so it isn’t entirely black. I had brought my headlamp, but the tunnel wasn’t so dark that I needed it.

© 2011 Ken Klug


  1. Soooo not having too much luck with the weather....looks like something out of Harry Potter! Beautiful pics, thanks Ken!

  2. Lots of Avon's in the UK indeed. I learned that avon means river in the old Celtic languages. Reckon that the Saxons, pointing to the river and asking the name of it, must have been answered by puzzled Celtic inhabitants that it was an “avon”. The Celt probably staying behind wondering if there were no rivers were the Saxons came from.