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Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders

Date 2007

Event ID 610013

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


This was the only canal tunnel in Scotland before completion of the new tunnel at the Falkirk Wheel in 2001. The

necessity for the tunnel, which is just south of Falkirk and 696 yards long, arose from the refusal of landowner

William Forbes to allow the canal to cross his estate in view of Callendar House. A further objection by him also

resulted in a deep cutting north of the tunnel. The tunnel, completed in 1822, is about 1312 ft wide and driven mainly through solid rock. It is unlined but patched with masonry and brickwork in places. At each end there is a masonry fac¸ade with semicircular archring. The work was designed and constructed under the direction of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union Canal Company’s engineer Hugh Baird and the contractor was John Mitchell. The towpath has been renovated and provided with a handrail for pedestrian safety. Miller had a similar problem at the Falkirk ridge when engineering the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway from 1838–41 which he resolved by making a tunnel 846 yards in length just to the north-east of the canal tunnel.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.

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