Scottish Waterways Trust at the World Canals Conference

This month we took part in the World Canals Conference, hosted by canal custodians Scottish Canals in Inverness! Here’s a little more about the conference itself and what happened when we were there.


What is the conference?

The World Canals Conference was established in 2008 by Inland Waterways International, and is held every year, bringing together more than 300 business leaders and professionals to celebrate innovation and pioneering developments on inland waterways all over the world. For the second time, the four-day conference came to Scotland as events played out by the magnificent backdrop of The Caledonian Canal. Key themes included sustainable tourism development, regeneration, heritage management and climate change.

How we got involved!

We gave three presentations at the conference, including one by our Canal Heritage Officer in the Highlands who also led a guided walk through the history and heritage of the Caledonian Canal, pictured above!

Scottish Waterways Trust Trustee, Diana Murray, presented on how we can transform lives through waterways regeneration projects, with projects like our Canal Officer for Cultural Heritage which helps people to engage with historic canalside sites and keep fascinating stories from the past alive.


Scotland’s first ever canal college, our biggest employability project to date, featured in Dame Seona Reid, the Deputy Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s keynote speech on safeguarding the heritage of our waterways. The Heritage Lottery Fund, alongside other funders and partners, made canal college possible. The project was commended for it’s outstanding success, something Scottish Waterways Trust Chief Executive Karen Moore discussed in her presentation on inspiring future generations through canal heritage projects.


Karen looked at how we can help young people to transform their lives with canal college, a project which helped 162 young people move towards a brighter future in Falkirk and Edinburgh. Scottish Waterways Trust is fundraising to bring this project to two new areas and help twice the number of 16-30 year olds in 2017, as it continues to run Green Action, an entry-level project for 16-25 year olds in Falkirk.

All images by Scottish Canals.