Have an appy day at the canal

SMARTPHONE technology is being used to bring alive the rich heritage of a Glasgow canal.

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The new app is helping bring alive the canal for many
The new app is helping bring alive the canal for many

The history, colourful wildlife and artworks along a 10-mile stretch of the Forth & Clyde Canal as it passes through Glasgow are being made available on an app.

Techies have produced an app for mobile phones and tablets which will guide visitors and cyclist along the 1790 waterway - more than 200 years after the canal opened and linked the west coast of Scotland with the east.

The app allows users to search for specific places of interest, such as lochs and even cafes close by.

Just the tap of a finger will bring up a colourful map of the towpaths and identify more than 100 sights of historic and local interest.

Old photographs can also be accessed as well as audio clips and videos packed with stories along with facts about the canal.

Called 'Glasgow's Canals Unlocked' the app is part of a £114,000 project by the Scottish Waterways Trust, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

Tracey Peedle, development director at Scottish Waterways Trust, said: "It's exciting that we are working with the communities in north Glasgow to use new technology to bring the heritage of the canals to life.

"For the first time, you can walk along the waterway and read about how it looked in days gone by, see old photographs and listen to stories and stand right where they took place.

You can get a real sense of how the canal is changing as it becomes one of the city's most important heritage, health and leisure amenities."

Maryhill Burgh Hall Trust's heritage manager Gordon Barr said: "Have you ever wondered what Glasgow was like in 1790?

"Now you can see your actual location overlaid on an exclusive archive map that shows how tiny Glasgow was at the time.

"With some locations, you can even see through time with a unique 'augmented reality' mode that overlays the archive images with the current camera view when you're standing in the right spot.

"Glasgow's Canals Unlocked is a terrific, accessible resource which you can tailor to your own needs and interests.

"We hope it gives everyone more reason to enjoy the fabulous heritage, wildlife and the attractive traffic-free green open space of the towpaths."

It's the first time smartphone technology has been used to unlock and bring to life the colourful heritage of the canal from its industrial heyday to the current renaissance led by the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project.

The app is an important feature of the ongoing Unlocking the Story initiative, which also involves Scottish Canals, Lambhill Stables, Glasgow Sculpture Studios and the National Theatre of Scotland.

Maryhill Burgh Halls is also the location of a free exhibition of archive materials on Scotland's canals.

The app also highlights two other canals.

The Monklands Canal was the most successful of Scotland's five waterways but is no longer navigable.

There was also the Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal. It no longer exists but the name lives on at Paisley Canal Station.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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