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Canals in Scotland

Scotland's three canals

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Scotland's three canals, the Crinan, Caledonian, and Forth and Clyde are shown in operation.
The film includes general views of canals and locks in operation. Shots include sluice gates, bridges, canal boats carrying cargos such as timber. Horse-drawn barges pull loads of logs along the canal. Shots of a steam puffer in the canal. Maps of the Forth & Clyde canal. Fishing boats in the Forth & Clyde and the paddle steamer the 'Gypsy Queen' on the Caledonia canal.

Questions & Activities


  • When were the Scottish canals built?
  • What types of cargo are most suited to canal transportation?
  • What type of horses are shown in the film?
  • Why was the Crinan Canal so important to the War effort in WWII?
  • How is oil transported from coast to coast today?
  • Is glass still made in Scotland today?


English/ICT: Compare and contrast this film with modern news reports to see how much narration you will need. Split the class into groups. Download the movie then add your own narration and soundscape to bring the film alive. Evaluate the results and make amendments where necessary.

Environmental Studies: Discuss what the class thinks was the purpose of this film. Then re-purpose the film or the footage as a modern film about solutions to global warming.

History (Standard Grade: 1790s-1830s; Britain 1830s to 1880s) / Immigration: Research the role of the canals in Britain's industrial revolution. Find out who built the canals and look for folk songs about the building of the canals and the railways.

Transport / Science / Technology: Compare the energy efficiency of different forms of transportation and the pros and cons of different forms of transportation.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-019-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0079
Date 1938
Genre Educational, Documentary
School Subject Social Studies, Geography, Environmental Studies, History, ICT, Science, Technologies
Subject Matter Transport
Who SEFA (Glasgow Group), (production company)
Where Bellanoch, Crinan
Event Canals, Boats, Industry
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 9:12
Film Length 9:12