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Battle to save ‘rare’ Aberdeen to Inverurie Canal inspection boat for heritage centre

The remains of the 19th century 
Aberdeenshire Canal Inspection boat.
The remains of the 19th century Aberdeenshire Canal Inspection boat.

Efforts are underway to restore the remains of a rare canal inspection boat that once served the waters of the Aberdeen to Inverurie Canal.

Garioch Heritage Centre wants to turn the piece of local history into a focal point at its Inverurie base.

The group secured permission from landowner Kirkwood Commercial Park to relocate the iron skeleton from its position at the start of the old Aberdeenshire Canal in Port Elphinstone.

Community on side

Heritage centre spokeswoman Joan Bruce said community support was crucial.

It is hoped a Crowdfunder will help the heritage centre to meet the costs of moving, treating and displaying the artefact described as “a rare find”.

The Aberdeen to Inverurie Canal was a key transport route in the region for both freight and passengers for almost 50 years in the 19th century.

In its description of the canal, Aberdeenshire Council says it ran from Port Elphinstone, just south of Inverurie to Aberdeen harbour, following a course 18.25 miles above the right-hand bank of the River Don, according to Aberdeenshire Council archives.

Council archaeologist Bruce Mann said: Very little of it 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.”

Future display

This was echoed by Jenny Pape-Carlisle, curator of Aberdeen Archives, Gallery, and Museums.

She 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 we are looking forward seeing the boat on display in the future.”

A JustGiving fundraising page has been set up for the project.

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