Securing the history of the Garioch

A Facebook discussion has helped find a new home for the iron skeleton of a boat near the start of the old Aberdeenshire Canal in Port Elphinstone.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 8:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 8:54 am
The boat will soon be moved to the Garioch Heritage Centre, forming the centrepiece of a new display.

Garioch Heritage Society began discussions with Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Services and Kirkwood Commercial Park regarding the ownership of the boat and the possibility of moving it to the Centre for preservation and display.

Kirkwood Commercial Park, the owners of the land, have graciously agreed to allow the boat to be moved to the Centre.

Graeme Sutherland, Site Manager, Kirkwood Commercial Park said: “We appreciate the great work that Garioch Heritage Society is doing in preserving local history in the area and are keen to support this project in any way that we can.”

Garioch Heritage has sought advice from Bruce Mann of Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Services and Jenny Pape-Carlisle, Curator, Aberdeen Archives, Gallery, and Museums, as to how best to move and conserve the skeleton.

Jenny said: “The canal boat is a rare find and the display will be a fantastic opportunity to explore and celebrate the rich history of the canal. We are really pleased to be able to help support the Garioch Heritage Centre with the project and are looking forward seeing the boat on display in the future.”

Bruce added: “The Aberdeen to Inverurie Canal was, for nearly fifty years in the 19th century, a key transport route in the region for both freight and passengers. However, little survives today which is why the rescue of these remains of the former inspection boat is so important. They will help the Garioch Heritage Centre to tell the story of the canal while preserving an important part of Aberdeenshire’s history.”

Once relocated, the boat will form the centrepiece of a new and informative display focussing on the key role played by the Aberdeenshire Canal and the rail network which followed the same route, in the life of Inverurie and the whole Garioch area.

Garioch Heritage Centre is asking the community to play a part in this project. A large financial investment will be needed to move the boat safely and create a display within the Centre.