About Us

How it all started

The Bridge 19-40 Canal Society was formed in 1994 with a small group of like-minded canal enthusiasts. Location is everything, and whilst the Edinburgh Canal Centre in Ratho looked after the stretch up to the Almond aqueduct, and the Linlithgow Union Canal Society looked after the stretch from Linlithgow to Ratho, the stretch between these two was sadly neglected. Some of the founding members are based in and around Broxburn, and Broxburn had a natural harbour beside its main street, with interesting journeys to either side.

What about a Boat? Well the Seagull trust narrow boat Bluebell no longer fulfilled their needs and was in need of some TLC, so it was sold to the Bridge 19-40 Canal Society. At this point, floating was a challenge, so there were many years of work needed to make it usable again.

In stepped Roseann, a flat-bottomed boat with a small out-board motor.RoseAnn - a black open boat with a frame to hold a tarpaulin roof in place

The society could not run trips until Bluebell was fully restored. Roseann gave us a boat to use for events and visits, and helped us to raise the money needed to get Bluebell restored to usable condition.

Up to date

In 2012 the society has around 45 members.

We meet socially once each month. In the summer we meet at Bells Mills Wharf our canal-side location in Winchburgh. In the Winter we meeting in a hall. This is likely to be Winchburgh Community Centre, but throughout the winter this has been having work carried out, so we’ve met at Bellsquarry village hall instead.

Get involved

We’re a friendly bunch and welcome new members. You can help maintain our boats, get involved with trips, learn to drive (drivers need to be tested before they can carry passengers), learn about the canals, help with the educational trips we give, santa specials and other special events. We hold many social activities too, besides our monthly meetings and trips.

Contact Ian for more information or come along and meet us at our next meeting or Sunday running session.

Bluebell thanks

From the moment we acquired Bluebell, we have been amazed at the help we have received from other organisations and when we get her up and running there will be a permanent notice on board naming all our supporters. However, in the meantime, I would like to list our supporters on here. They have all helped us, why not support them?

I have listed our supporters in chronological order.


The Bridge 19-40 Canal Society are a registered charity. We raise money by running trips and participating in events (Santa specials and local river and canal galas). We also conduct educational trips for local schools, teaching the children the basics of water safety.

Union 10

Bluebell & the Union 10 celebrations

On the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of the Union Canal from Edinburgh to Falkirk, “Bluebell” took part in a flotilla of boats travelling from Edinburgh to Falkirk over the weekend of 25/26 September 2010.

The flotilla set out from Edinburgh Quay at 8am on Saturday 25th October, aiming to get to Linlithgow by Saturday evening.
On Sunday 26th the flotilla continued to Brightons, at the top of the Falkirk wheel.

Bluebell had the honour of leading the flotilla from the Almond Aquaduct to Winchburgh on Saturday. We had a piper (John Hughes) on the Bows and she was lined with garlands and decorations. We gave her a fresh coat of paint on Saturday 11th September to help her look good for the event. The weather was beautiful. The sun was out and the wind stayed light.

For more information, see: STV News from 6th September, or Union Canal history by the Edinburgh Photographic Society.

There is ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY to ride on Bluebell in 2010 as our regular Sunday passenger working from Port Buchan draws to a close on Sunday 3rd October.
However there will be more news shortly on this years Santa trips. Call Ann for more details.