My boyfriend Brent and I were captain and first mate for four days…
Where to stay?
We hired the 47ft narrowboat ‘Little Weaver’, based in Falkirk.
With a cosy lounge-diner, kitchen, double bedroom and dinky bathroom, we had all we needed to set sail and explore.
Some nights, we moored up in little towns – twice in Linlithgow’s Manse Road Basin, a short walk from the town, full of pubs and restaurants.
Other nights, there was nothing nicer than anchoring in a remote spot as the sun set and settling in for a cosy meal – or sitting up on deck with a glass of wine, watching the ducks!
What to do?
First, we rode the stunning Falkirk Wheel! Unbelievably, each huge ‘gondola’ can scoop up several boats, bobbing in 500,000 litres of water.
Using just the power it takes to boil eight kettles, it smoothly lifts you 100ft from the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal aqueduct overhead.
The views are amazing, I can tell you!
Next came the 631m-long Falkirk Tunnel. With water dripping overhead, it was quite spooky!
After that, we spent lazy days pootling along the canal at a maximum speed of 4mph.
Tough life, eh?!
At the friendly Canal Museum and Tearoom in Linlithgow, we learnt that the canal was opened in 1822 in order to carry coal and quarried stone to Edinburgh.
We also visited the 12th-century Linlithgow Palace, where you can hunt the ruins for the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots’ mother.
Alternatively, adventurous souls can brave the vast canalside climbing centre in a disused quarry. Or if you’d rather take it easy, simply choose to chill out in their luxury spa!
With a mooring outside the local Tesco for boaters to stock up before setting off, we cooked many meals on board.
But all along the canal are villages and towns crammed with cafes and restaurants.
At Linlithgow, check out The Four Marys, an award-winning pub serving traditional meals.
Don’t miss the famous Bridge Inn at Ratho, which grows its own organic produce in a former manor house’s grounds.
Sitting in the restaurant, we watched boats glide by while we enjoyed steak and wine.
Then we returned the 26 miles back to Falkirk, enjoying the scenery, pubs and peace!