This year both the Dude and I are having “big birthdays,” and to help celebrate this we have made a Forty things at 40 list. Rather than have a party and celebrate on just one night, we decided to make a whole twelve months of it! Talk about dragging it out, I know, but if something is worth doing, its worth doing right. One thing on the list was to go on the Falkirk Wheel and so by a tenuous link we ended up having afternoon tea on the Union Canal.
I recently discovered Re-Union Canal Boats whilst over at the Falkirk Wheel and decided to look them up when I got home. Realising that this project was much more than just taking people on a jolly along the canals (Union, and Forth & Clyde). As a social enterprise the local communities are involved with clean up projects, maintenance and promotion of the canals with community groups and volunteers.
As well as being able to hire the boats out for the day, Re-Union also do Afternoon Tea on selected dates for a very reasonable price of £22.50. Two hours on board and you travel along the canal at a rather leisurely pace.
We arrived at Edinburgh Quay where the Lochrin Belle was moored – the start (or end) of the Union Canal, just a few miles out of the city centre. Once on board we were seated at tables of six. Initially I felt slightly disappointed at being seated with strangers instead of the romantic table for two I had planned, but it turns out that we actually had a great time chatting to our fellow diners.
Once we had set off our tea and coffee were served along with a selection of canapes, rolls, meringues, scones and sponges. With jam, butter and cream options for the scones too. Enough for the whole table to enjoy.
There was no shortage of fresh coffee in our china cups and once the ice was broken with offering the canapes round the table everyone seemed to be having a great time. Admiring the view from our seats or choosing to make our way to the front of the boat for fresh air and a full view ahead.
Once at the end of our outward journey, we were carefully about turned, and made our way from whence we came.
One thing you do notice whilst being over taken by walkers on the footpath is that the old tow paths are actually really well used by dog walkers, runners, cyclists, families, couples and everyone else in between. A really pleasant place to be.
Sadly, it still seems to be a place to leave rubbish and the volunteers at Re-Union canal boats do what they can to keep the paths, banks and the waterway as clear as they can.
We thoroughly enjoyed our two hours out on the canal and would highly recommend it. Good value for money and it’s something nice to do with friends or family.
I think, for me, it was slightly overcrowded. There are twenty four places available and four large tables staggered down the boat. Once everyone is seated it is quite difficult to get around (either to the bathroom or to go outside) without disturbing anyone else. If there was just one less table this issue would be solved. It would also mean that on a day not so nice as the one we had people could still stand at the windows and look out. It would also mean that staff could get around when serving hot drinks etc too.
All in all we had a great time having afternoon tea on the Union Canal and would recommend it to anyone who has a special occasion to celebrate or who fancies doing something a bit different without breaking the bank.
And after all that we STILL haven’t made it to the Falkirk Wheel to experience it properly! Do you have any suggestions on what else we could squeeze in to our year of birthday celebrations? Let us know over on Facebook or comment below.