Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Scotland's Canals

In 1768, construction began on the Forth and Clyde Canal – the start of a series of incredible engineering endeavours which would change the landscape of Scotland forever. 

The nation’s transport and industry had always relied on the sea rather than the rivers. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the creation of large scale canals provided new links between the land and the coastal centres. Huge volumes of commercial traffic plied these routes, carrying supplies of coal, iron-ore, stone and agricultural produce. 

Canals had a major impact on the places they passed through – both Grangemouth and Maryhill in Glasgow were once branded as new ‘canal-towns’. 

Produced in partnership with Scottish Canals, Nick Haynes’ new book explores the histories of the nation’s five major canals – the Forth and Clyde, Union, Caledonian, Crinan and Monkland – and the buildings that grew up alongside them. 

From the awe-inspiring engineering feat that drove a route through the lochs and mountains of the Great Glen, linking sea to sea, to the ‘most beautiful shortcut in the world’, Scotland’s Canals explores the fascinating architecture of our iconic waterways, telling a story of innovation, industry, community, decline, disrepair and regeneration.

  • Audiences

    Members, Researchers, Visitors, Conservation and Heritage Enthusiasts

  • Date Published

    01 May 2015

  • Publisher

    Historic Scotland

  • Publication Types

    Book (General)

  • Format(s)


    ISBN: 9781849171656

    108pp, portrait, 270mm x 216mm

    Illustrations: 100 illustrations (full colour)

  • Language


  • Subjects

    Architecture, History, Scotland

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Scotland's Canals