Changing Seasons In Falkirk

Falkirk Community Trust is celebrating the works of local photographers capturing wildlife and nature in their doorsteps with a Photography Exhibition on display at the Mariner Centre in Camelon, Falkirk.

Whether it’s the force of the river Carron, a crimson sunset over the Union Canal, or the bustling birdlife of the Skinflats lagoons, the local landscape in Falkirk offers the perfect scope for photographers of all ages. Last year the Trust challenged local amateur photographers to capture the vibrant wildlife at their doorsteps, and this year they are proud to present some of the most exciting winning shots that celebrate the best of Falkirk area’s natural heritage and the turn of the seasons.

The exhibition is organised by the Great Place Scheme, in collaboration with the Falkirk Camera Club, with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The winning photographs were selected by the Falkirk based, award winning commercial photographer David Wilkinson (Scotdrone), Falkirk Ranger Fiona Wishart and various members of the Great Place project and the exhibition will be displayed in The Mariner Centre until the 15th October.

What will be your Canal Encounters this August?  

The Forth & Clyde Canal is set to come alive in weird and wonderful ways this August, as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 celebrations. Canal Encounters, a self-led walking, cycling, paddling, boating or wheeling trail, will combine real life with the imaginary as it brings together art, community participation, digital innovation and two of Scotland’s most iconic tourist attractions – The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel.

Between Sunday 1st and Sunday 29th August, the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal, between The Helix, Home of The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel, will be transformed into a vibrant activity trail featuring interactive art installations, audio guides, augmented reality hot spots and much more.

Designed with COVID-19 restrictions and current Scottish Government guidelines in mind the four mile long trail, Canal Encounters, hosted by Falkirk Community Trust, Scottish Canals and Great Place Falkirk, only requires a mobile phone with the free Falkirk Explored app downloaded to enjoy the full experience.

David Blair, Scottish Canals Director of Revenue and Regeneration said: “The safety of our customers, staff and visitors has been of paramount importance to us over the last year as we have navigated through the challenges of COVID-19. In some areas of our canal network we’ve seen an increase of up to 200% in people getting out and enjoying our blue & green spaces. 

We want to keep encouraging people to get out locally and enjoy what’s on their doorsteps safely. The trail has been designed with that ethos in mind and we can’t wait to hear our visitors favourite canal encounters this August”.      

Whilst the core activity trail will run every day between 1-29 August, each week will focus on a different theme and there will be additional pop up activity such as workshops, walking tours and performances to add to the excitement.

Speaking about the Activity Trail programme, Helen Rashad, Project Coordinator for Great Places Falkirk, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund said “Alongside our exciting digital trail and art installations, we’re going to be exploring four different themes in Canal Encounters – On the Canal, History & Heritage, Biking, and Wildlife & Environment. This highlights what we have found time and again throughout the Great Place project – the way the richness of our local heritage and landscape offers such a wide scope for people of all ages to enjoy it in very different ways.”    

Canal Encounters is supported by EventScotland through the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 and Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund has been pleased to give £462,300 to the Great Place Falkirk scheme to aid the next phase of revitalising, rediscovering, restoring and expanding the natural heritage around the local townscape and canal areas.

“Creating a popular and highly valued network of green spaces, walking and cycling routes, and new sites for sport and recreation, remains a high priority for us as we commit to promoting more environmentally-sustainable heritage and increasing people’s health and wellbeing. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are proud to support Canal Encounters in the creation of their new trail and are sure it will bring great pleasure to many.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Canal Encounters as part of Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21. Scotland offers the perfect stage to explore our natural environment and this vibrant activity trail provides a great opportunity to celebrate the Forth & Clyde canal’s rich heritage in new and innovative ways.”

Bookended by the Helix, Home of The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel, the four mile long trail can be enjoyed going from either direction, or with plenty of spots to join the trail along the route visitors can choose to take on as much or as little of the trail as they like without missing out on some interesting canal encounters.

“We are pleased to be working collaboratively to create an activity trail to celebrate this central waterway in Falkirk. We have been delighted to be working with partners and a range of artists to bring the route to life and hope that it will inspire everyone to explore the route. It will highlight the heritage and the ecological significance of the Forth & Clyde canal and we look forward to locals and visitors alike celebrating this important piece of industrial history.” Maureen Campbell, Chief Executive, Falkirk community Trust.