Can(al) they do it? Yes they can(al)!

Essential maintenance and conservation work is being undertaken to rebuild heritage sites whilst teaching transferable skills.

Last week, a team of volunteers from the Falkirk Canal College group worked hard to rebuild a section of walled area by Larbert’s Forth Valley Hospital.


The aim of the two day project was to improve the appearance and durability of the dry stane dyke in the grounds of the hospital. The process involved finding, sorting and cleaning stones before carefully assembling them together to produce the finished result.


Volunteers didn’t need to have prior experience and were fully trained before embarking on the project courtesy of The Conservation Volunteers. They (and us!) were delighted with the results and the opportunity to gain new skills.


The volunteers’ achievements are a great example of our Canal College heritage skills focused employability project which aims to help people boost their life and work chances whilst protecting the nation’s canal heritage.


In addition, a recent partnership with Glasgow City Heritage Trust enabled Bowling Canal College group to undertake essential cleaning and lime pointing of the stone and brick canal boundary walls by the Scottish Canals headquarters. Glasgow City Heritage Trust funded six days of skills training by Darren McLean, of Timber and Lime Conservation, providing a learning opportunity for the Canal College Participants and much-needed conservation work on the heritage site. 

Canal College Project Manager Alan Forrester said: “I would like to thank Glasgow City Heritage Trust and Scottish Canals for giving us the opportunity to work with Darren.  He added a generous dollup of fascinating anecdote and humour to every bucket of mortar mix.  It has been a wonderful opportunity for us all to learn such a valuable traditional skill.  Knowing that our work will last 100 years has given participants a buzz and a sense of playing a genuine part in conserving our rich canal heritage.” 

During the Canal College programme, participants undertake a wide range of practical projects helping conserve and enhance the built, natural and cultural heritage of three of Scotland's 200-year-old canals: the Forth & Clyde, Union and Caledonian canals. Canal College enables individuals to enhance and improve historic environments, whilst learning invaluable practical skills to equip them for the job market.

Stephanie Weinraub, Traditional Skills Officer at Glasgow City Heritage Trust, said: “Projects like these are absolutely the best kind to see. When you can get skills training, partnership amongst fellow charitable organisations, and actual improvements to the fabric of a historic site, there’s no end to the kind of good you can do.”

28 June 2019

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