Travel through time and explore Glasgow’s canals
New technology unlocks heritage past, present and future

Visitors to the Forth & Clyde Canal in Glasgow can now download a free smartphone and tablet App to explore the history, heritage, wildlife and artworks along the two hundred year old waterway as it winds through the City of Glasgow.

This is the first time smartphone technology has been used to unlock and bring to life the rich heritage of the canal - from its industrial heyday through to the current renaissance led through the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project.

Using the new ‘Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked’ App, visitors walking or cycling along the waterway (or even planning their visit from home), can now check out their location on a new colourful illustrated map of the towpaths, identify over 100 sights of historic and local interest and discover new developments underway.

By tapping on the points of interest on the App they can also delve deeper by accessing archive photos, audio clips and videos, hearing fascinating anecdotes and strange but true facts.

Using the App, they can also search for specific places of interest, such as locks or cafes, sort the list of places by how close they are or by how recently the information has been updated.

Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked, which is also now available as a free full-colour A5 booklet as well as the App, divides the towpaths into a series of short and easy walks or cycle rides.

It also explores the story of the Monkland Canal, as it travelled through Glasgow, and Glasgow’s often forgotten third canal, the former Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal.

The App will be updated with more information, sound and video clips, photos and points of interest over time.

Indeed, the Scottish Waterways Trust is keen to hear from anyone who has a favourite canal-side place they would like to see added or any old photos or a story to tell. To get in touch, use the Tell Us Your Story button on the App.

Download the PDF version of the walking trail booklet

Download the PDF version of the walking trail booklet

Download the  iPhone/iPad  or  Android  version of the free App!

Download the iPhone/iPad or Android version of the free App!

The Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked App and booklet are both available online through the Scottish Waterways Trust website or through the direct download links to the right.

The smartphone app, which is available for both iPhone, iPad and Android devices, can also be downloaded direct from Apple iTunes and Android App Stores by searching for ‘Glasgow Canals’.

The printed booklet is also available for free at leaflet drop points across the city. Call 01324 677809 for further information.

Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked is part of the Scottish Waterway Trust’s wider Unlocking the Story project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City Heritage Trust.


Tracey Peedle, Development Director at the Scottish Waterways Trust, explains:

“It’s hugely exciting that we are working with the local communities of North Glasgow to use new technology to bring the heritage of the canals to life. For the first time, you can walk along the waterway and read about how it looked in days gone by, see old photographs and listen to stories and stand right where they took place.

“With Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked, you can get a real sense of how the canal is changing as it becomes one of the city’s most important heritage, health, leisure and greenspace amenities.”


Gordon Barr, Heritage Manager for Maryhill Burgh Hall Trust, adds:

“Have you ever wondered what Glasgow was like in 1790? Now you can see your actual location overlaid on an exclusive archive map that shows how tiny Glasgow was at the time.

“With some locations, you can even See Through Time with a unique 'augmented reality' mode that overlays the archive images with the current camera view when you're standing in the right spot! 

Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked is a terrific, accessible resource which you can tailor to your own needs and interests. We hope it gives everyone more reason to enjoy the fabulous heritage, wildlife and the attractive traffic-free green open space of the towpaths.”

Other elements of Unlocking the Story, which is led by a partnership of the Scottish Waterways Trust, Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council, Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust, Lambhill Stables, Glasgow Sculpture Studios and the National Theatre of Scotland, include a free exhibition of Scottish Canals archive materials, which is currently on display at Maryhill Burgh Halls.

Over twenty volunteers have also been trained to gather local memories and stories about Glasgow’s canals. Some of these stories can be heard on the App and others will be retold on new interpretation boards that will be installed on the Forth & Clyde Canal next year.

Work is also underway with Glasgow Sculpture Studios to create an imaginative artwork trail to complete this unique and exciting project.

Issued on behalf of the Scottish Waterways Trust by

Joanna Harrison, Mobile 07884 187404


App created by The Appstillery; Canal mapping illustrations by Kerry Hyndman Illustration 
Walking Trail Booklet and exhibition design and layout by Cactus Design.