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The Aberdeenshire Canal

Historic Photographs
David Oswald
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Historic Photographs Details
This drawing shows a barge being pulled by two horses along the Aberdeenshire Canal, with the twin spires of St. Machar Cathedral in the background. The canal ran for 19 miles from Aberdeen Harbour to Port Elphinstone, near Inverurie, and was first proposed in 1795 by various landed proprietors as a means of providing better transport connections for the rural interior of Aberdeenshire. It was opened in 1805. Passenger traffic was catered for by two iron boats, which made the trip twice a day in summer and once a day in winter. It cost 2 shillings (10p.) for the full journey or 2d. (about a half pence) per mile. Because there were several locks to be negotiated at the Aberdeen end, passengers disembarked at the Boathouse at Kittybrewster, having completed the journey in 2 and a half hours. Goods traffic was handled by various barges, some of which belonged to the canal company. It took them 10-14 hours to complete their passage to Aberdeen Harbour. There were facilities for changing the horses at Dyce and Kintore. In 1840, the goods transported included nearly 4000 tons of lime, 5000 tons of coal, 1124 tons of meal, 54 tons of salt, 110 tons of wood, 51 tons of granite, 43 tons of livestock and 8 tons of whisky. The canal was purchased by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company and it closed in 1854, when the railway line was opened using part of the old canal route. There are still some remnants of the canal to be seen including milestones and the street names Canal Street and Terrace recall its existence.
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