Bright boats playing music at the canal

16 canal boats decorated with lights and playing music brought life to Edinburgh’s Union Canal yesterday evening to celebrate the end of the year, before it gets too cold.

The boaters moved slowly from Harrison Park to Leamington Walk in Edinburgh between around 5.45pm and 6.15pm, having started in Ratho.

This event, The Flotilla of Light, has become a tradition as it has been organised for several years by the Lowland Canals Association.

Pierre Potel, a member of the Lowland Canal Association, said: “This is the third year of Flotilla, which is based on a french festival called La fête de la musique, which gathers a lot of people playing music in the streets.”

“We decorate boats with lights, and boaters play music to celebrate the end of the year, but we hold this event in November rather than December because of the danger of the ice.”

Local Green councillor, and city canal champion, Gavin Corbett said: “The Flotilla of light, which has been organised for a couple of years now, is an opportunity at a dark and cold time of year for the boating community to celebrate the canal and to invite the neighbouring communities to join in.

“I’m glad to see so many people enjoying it this year and I look forward to it becoming an annual fixture as the canal approaches its bicentenary in 2022.”

The canal was crowded with hundreds of people, including both children and adults, who wished to be part of the event by holding a lantern to add light by the canal side.

Adrian Mather, a local from Polwarth, who found out about the event through friends, said: “I came to see the decorated boats slowly sailing along at nightfall; it’s a very sweet event, with accordion music playing and it’s very pretty.”

Local resident Graeme Smith said: “It’s a great atmosphere, so much colour.

“It’s good to see so many families out on a cold rainy night, the boats are all lit up and we got some great photos.”

Nearby residents also contributed to this family event by lighting candles which could be seen through their windows.

Charlotte Neary, 65, who is a neighbour, said: “It’s a magical event, bright boats are playing music to entertain the crowd, who seem to be pleased.

“This display should be something to be remembered for years.”