Today Tom and I (Mark Jefferies) had the pleasure of flying for Her Majesty the Queen at the opening of the new canal section forming the eastern gateway to Scotland’s historic Forth & Clyde Canal.
We departed our home bases at 08:00 to position at Cumbernauld (EGPG) in time to self brief. The display commenced exactly on time at 11:20 with a flypast on dotty smoke before descending in front of the crowd and pulling up for the big heart.
We then drew a Saltire at 2,400ft in the perfect blue skies above Falkirk.
Photos and credits to https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/ @scottishcanals @marydawl83 @dailymail
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh boarded the Seagull Trust barge the ‘Wooden Spoon Seagull’ and led a small flotilla along Scotland’s newest canal section, built as part of the £43m Helix project which features the internationally-acclaimed, 30-metre-high Kelpies sculptures, before unveiling a plaque officially naming the new section the Queen Elizabeth II Canal. The unveiling was accompanied by a breathtaking aerobatic display from the Global Stars Aerobatic team.
The Helix, driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council, Scottish Canals and the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, and supported with £25m in National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund along with £480,000 of funding through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme, has transformed 350 hectares of underused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a vibrant parkland, visitor attraction and marine hub with the canal and The Kelpies at its heart. The site is now managed by Falkirk Community Trust on behalf of the partners.
The Queen Elizabeth II Canal forms the eastern gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal, which carves across Scotland from Bowling in the west to Grangemouth and the River Carron in the east. One of the most complex sections of waterway ever constructed in Scotland, the Queen Elizabeth II Canal passes underneath two major trunk roads and across utility pipelines, demanding innovative engineering solutions from a UK-wide team of experts.
Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: “I’m delighted to attend the official naming of this new stretch of canal by Her Majesty The Queen.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Canal has transformed access for mariners from Northern Europe and created a world-class marine hub in and out of Scotland. I’d like to congratulate all the organisations involved in developing this innovative and new section of canal, the Helix Park and the Kelpies, which have helped boost the local economy and tourism in the area.”