Birthday goes full steam ahead

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IT IS 40 years since the flagship Victoria was launched at Linlithgow Canal Basin and the anniversary was marked with a Festival of Transport last weekend.

Organised by Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS), a sail past of boats was led by Victoria carrying some of LUCS’ founding members, joined by Deacons Court Provost Jack Adair and West Lothian Provost Tom Kerr, who presented the society with a commemorative plaque for the boat’s many years of service.

190512 Transport day at linlithgow canal basin

190512 Transport day at linlithgow canal basin

He said: “There is no doubt that the canal is a very popular tourist attraction and a trip on Victoria is a highlight. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in LUCS for their tireless work to promote the canal. I would also like to add that Victoria is a fine looking 40-year-old lady.”

Linlithgow Reed Band provided a rousing start to the weekend’s events, followed by music from Linlithgow Folk Festival Association and Sangschule. Many shared in the two-day event with steam boats sailing in from the Falkirk Wheel, and the Forth and Clyde Canal Society’s Janet Telford from Glasgow. From the east came the Edinburgh Canal Society, Ronnie Rusack’s beautiful 1930s Ratho Princess and Ralf Allardyce’s “Nuclear” powered clinker boat, Marjory Morning Star.

Land based transport was represented by a 1972 Hillman Imp panda car, a Willi’s jeep of the 1940s by kind permission of the Bo’ness Motor Museum, a 1936 Austin Eton two seater soft top and a 1960s Fire Engine. The furthest travelled exhibit was a 1/3 scale steam traction engine all the way from Loch Ailort. This beautiful model, built from scratch by its owner Harry Clyne, drew praise as it ticked over, emitting smoke and the occasional cloud of steam. On Saturday, the Edinburgh Society of Model Engineers provided rides on their steam hauled miniature train. Boats provided short trips along the canal and a “brunch” cruise to the Avon Aqueduct on Sunday.