The Union Canal

by Robin Laing


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Fountainbridge to Falkirk, over Almondell
By Ratho and Linlithgow weaves a magic spell
Fountainbridge to Falkirk, over Almondell
Follow the windings of the Union Canal
Follow the windings of the Union Canal

As a child I was enchanted by swans among the reeds
Tadpoles in my jamjar, minnows in the weed
Gazing from the towpath on my hands and knees
Sunlight on the water, the wind in the willow trees

Thinking on those early days, I was always there
Swinging out on Tarzan ropes, drop in for a dare
Summer was the magic time, but Winter had its day
Skating on the ice until the daylight slipped away

Fountainbridge to Falkirk...

The Union is a quiet place, a relic from the past
See the old stone bridges, they were made to last
It's just a sad backwater, lazy, deep and slow
A sleepy road that used to be a moving picture show

For once the traffic pulsed along, a beat that had no rest
Lifeline for the Lothians, a gateway to the West
Passengersby the thousands, scows of coal and grain
The Union carried everything before the railways came

Fountainbridge to Falkirk...

A casualty of progress, stranded high and dry
The Union was discarded, left to waste and die
Broken and neglected, falling to decay
All those weary Winter days, lonely, cold and grey

Those winter years are past now,the water feels the sun
The fight against the brambles and silting up is won
Narrow boats and barges steer the old canal
Slipping through the countryside that I have loved so well

Fountainbridge to Falkirk...

The Union Canal links the heart of Edinburgh to the modern wonder of the waterways - the Falkirk Wheel.

Recorded on :

Edinburgh Skyline - Robin Laing, Greentrax Records CDTRAX 021 (1989)