Map of Forth and Clyde Canal from Temple to Glasgow
Map derived from data (c) OpenStreetMap

Bowling to Temple Glasgow to Kirkintilloch Monkland Canal

The canal continues its journey through the suburbs, punctuated by occasional bridges (including a new-ish metal swingbridge at Netherton). At Temple there are several features of interest. Bearsden Road crosses the canal on a huge steel lifting bridge. It no longer opens, but is high enough above the water for boats to get through. There was once a similar bridge at Clobberhill for Great Western Road. There are two locks at Temple, 27 and 26. Next to the first one is a very welcome sight on long canal walks or cruises - the Lock 27 pub!

Bearsden Road Bridge, Temple

The view ahead is dominated by the huge gasometers of Temple Gasworks on the south side. There are three railway tunnels under this section of canal - the two by the locks are still in use but the one near the gasworks is now disused. Govan Cottage Bridge, where Cleveden Road crosses the canal, was culverted in the 60s. It was due to be replaced by a bridge by the Glasgow Canal Project in the early 90s, but had to wait until the Millennium Link when that project ran out of money. There is an abandoned railway cutting and tunnel on the towpath side as the canal approaches probably its most impressive feature: the Kelvin Aqueduct.

When the aqueduct was built, it was the largest one in Britain, although it's since been overtaken by many others (including three on the Union Canal). The depth and solidity of its four stone arches are still striking compared with the much spindlier aqueducts on the Union Canal - rather than using an iron trough as the later aqueducts did, the puddled clay canal lining continues right across it. From the towpath there are views down the River Kelvin to the piers of a long-obsolete railway viaduct that once carried the line into the Kelvindale Tunnel. A path at the eastern end of the aqueduct joins up with the Kelvin Walkway which is well worth exploring for its green surroundings and imposing bridges.

The aqueduct is made even more impressive by the flight of five Maryhill locks that immediately follows it, curving up the hill towards Maryhill Road. These were the first locks on the canal to be restored to working order, with the top two (21 and 22) reopening in 1990 and the others a few years later. There was once a boat building yard here and the dock can still be seen on the north side between locks 22 and 23. Above the top lock, the canal is now at its summit level.

Maryhill Locks

The original small aqueduct across the busy Maryhill Road was replaced by the current larger one so that trams would be able to get through. Many of the canal's bascule bridges were also replaced by swing bridges in the early 20th century for the same reason. The canal was diverted slightly here so it's no longer exactly on its original line. One of the original aqueducts still survives just around the corner at Lochburn Road, right by Stockingfield Junction. Here, the main line of the canal continues eastwards towards Bishopbriggs (the towpath is accessible through the aqueduct) while the Glasgow branch goes south to the city centre. We will follow the branch first; click here for a description of the main line.

The first major feature on the branch is a concrete bridge carrying Ruchill Street over the canal. This was built in 1991 by the Glasgow Canal Project, replacing a drowned culvert that previously cut off most of the branch. Firhill and Glasgow Road bridges were also rebuilt by this project. To the north, another disused railway tunnel passes under the canal. It was built when the now-closed Glasgow Central Railway was extended east from Maryhill. Continuing southwards, Bilsland Drive crosses underneath through a similar aqueduct to the one at Maryhill Road.

The canal sweeps round in a wide curve past Murano Street student flats, and reaches Firhill. There is another restored bridge here, and beyond it is the Partick Thistle football stadium. The canal curves back the other way and a large timber basin has been built inside the curve. There was once another one on the far side of the canal as well. A bit further on at Hamiltonhill, the canal widens into another basin which is usually filled with boats. There are British Waterways offices on the offside and a bascule bridge (restored to working order by the Glasgow Canal Project) provides access from the towpath. There is also an aqueduct across Possil Road - like the one at Maryhill Road, it was replaced, but in this case the original aqueduct was left in place beside the new one and can still be seen today.

The canal is now approaching the city centre. It runs straight along an embankment with cobbled wharves either side and impressive warehouse buildings that have now been converted to flats. For many decades, the canal ended here - the original terminus at Port Dundas was cut off when the M8 was built, and wasn't reconnected as part of the Millennium Link restoration. But further work has been done since and now Port Dundas is accessible again. A new lock lowers the canal to a basin right beside the motorway, and at the far end another lock lifts it back up to the Port Dundas basins, where there is an old swing bridge, an original bascule, and several old industrial buildings. The Monkland Canal used to join the Forth and Clyde at the southern corner of the basin, but it was mostly obliterated by the M8 construction and the only surviving sections are several miles further east. However, a pipeline beneath the motorway maintains the flow and it continues to feed much-needed water into the Forth and Clyde Canal to this day.

View photos of this section of canal in the gallery