Virtual visitors invited to explore Scotland’s canals on Google Street View

Google’s ‘Trekker’

Virtual visitors are now able to take a digital turn on the world’s only rotating boat lift or a desktop trek up Scotland’s longest lock flight, thanks to a partnership between Scottish Canals and Google’s ‘Street View’.

From Beijing to Barcelona, ‘armchair explorers’ are able to discover the many sights on Scotland’s historic waterways as the nation’s canals are added to ‘Street View’. The project allows a virtual audience to take to the towpaths of some of Scotland’s most scenic and spectacular locations, “from the myths and majesty of the Caledonian Canal’s Loch Ness to the west coast wonders of the Crinan Canal”.

The ‘Trekker’

Scottish Canals’ Asset Inspection team have been treading the towpaths capturing over 137 miles of panoramic views using Google’s latest technology, the Trekker – a four-foot, 40lbs backpack which has been fitted with a 15-angle lens camera designed to take 360 pictures every 2.5 seconds.

Swapping roads for towpaths, the Trekker is suited to the narrow towpaths and bridges of Scotland’s canals and has captured a range of locations including:

  • Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal, the longest lock flight in the country
  • The world’s only rotating boat lift, The Falkirk Wheel
  • The remains of a WWII “stop lock” at Stockingfield Bridge on the Forth & Clyde Canal
  • Britain’s most beautiful shortcut, the Crinan Canal
  • The world’s largest equine sculptures, The Kelpies

See “every nook, cranny and lock”

Andrew McSherry, head of ICT at Scottish Canals, said: “When Scotland’s canals were first carved through the heart and highlands of the nation during the Industrial Revolution, they were considered at the cutting edge of engineering and design. It’s been incredible to see every nook, cranny, and lock captured using this 21st century equipment.

“The Trekker has been ideal for the narrower towpaths and bridges of Scotland’s canals and allows us to show off some of the more hard-to-reach places along the canal network as well as the sights known the world over. We’re delighted to be able to offer virtual visitors the chance to stand in the shadow of The Kelpies or take a turn on The Falkirk Wheel on Street View alongside such sights as the Grand Canyon and the Pyramids of Giza.

“We hope that the Street View footage will encourage new visitors, whether at home or abroad, to explore the spectacular sights and hidden gems that can be found along Scotland’s incredible canal network.”

View a gallery of some of the locations here.