As you may have gathered by the name of our farm, boats are rather central to it all! Farm owner Iain Withers lives on a narrowboat on the canal and many of the people involved in the project do too.
At the time of writing we are almost two years into negotiating with the authority that runs the canals in Scotland, erm Scottish Canals! It’s fair to say negotiating with civil servants isn’t exactly the quickest of processes. But all going well, we will be able to do a deal with them to be able to operate boats from our site. To be fair, we are making it rather complex ourselves. You see, we’re not just trying to get permission for boats to moor here, we’re trying to set up a model for community-owned canal boat moorings that could be rolled out across the lowland canals and beyond.
We’ll not go into too much detail but suffice to say building things on an ancient monument protected by Historic Environment Scotland, in an environment closely protected by SEPA, trying to build structures controlled by West Lothian Council planning department, to be operated by a community-owned organisation regulated by a trading agreement and lease with Scottish Canals in the spirit of the Community Empowerment Act has a fair bit of paperwork associated with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whilst we negotiate, canal boats are welcome to visit the site a tie up for a while, here are some of the boats that are here at the time of writing: