Dunbar’s 110 Miles Rowing the John Muir Way

The Dunbar entry for the Cruising Log is by video.  Please click the following to see the full video……  put it on full screen.

Dunbar’s Video Log



The following is an “action log” for more information:


The​ ​John​ ​Muir​ ​Way,​ ​110​ ​miles,​ ​40​ ​locks,​ ​20​ ​bridges.
Dunbar CRC has become the first to complete the John Muir Way by boat.
Over 20 local rowers took part in the challenge which paralleled the 134 miles by foot on the John
Muir Way stretching from Helensburgh to Dunbar.
WATCH​ ​THE​ ​VIDEO​ ​: “Rowing the John Muir Way”, https://vimeo.com/227255897
music The Hebrides, Fingal’s Cave – Overture. Use full-screen.
Action log of Black Agnes: The John Muir Way row:
Up the Clyde, along the Forth-Clyde Canal, down the Forth, into the North Sea.
Date July 17th — 23rd.
Place Helensburgh to Dunbar
Distance travelled 110 miles = 180 kilometers
Canal 35 miles, 40 locks, 16 bridges.
Weather 6 good days, 2 heavy rain (we waited those out).
Boats Black Agnes skiff
Crew members: 23 lazy sods from Dunbar CRC.
Special commendations:
Christine who rowed the most, Pamela who manned the chuckwagon, Bob who fashioned 5
great paddles, Di who dragooned her 2 grandkids in for one leg.
We decided that with 2 rivers, a canal, and 1 sea we should make some priorities:
1 Safety
2 Adventure
3 Eating and Drinking.
● Canal license: approx £120 gives you 10 days plus the side-fun of a quick up/down
on the Falkirk Wheel. Also a charge of £30/day on the western half of canal (be
● Bowling to Southbank Maryhill: 20 locks are opened by the canalmen over a 7-hour
leg, starting at 9am, finishing at 4pm
● Sea-locks at Bowling and Carron are VERY tide-dependent (read the guide)
● Canal is narrow at some points and the oars will touch the side. Use paddles.
● Bridges are narrow and a speed-up is needed before folding the oars back; we used
5 strong, wooden paddles.
● Passing other vessels, although on the canal traffic is very limited. Use paddles.
● Beware the mussel-banks on the Clyde
● Tidal dependent on Clyde & Forth.
● On the rivers, our coxes were qualified sailors (day-skipper ticket min.)
● On the canal our coxes were experienced with lock-systems.
● Spectacular way to transit Glasgow!
● Skiff is in the canal overnight so no need to launch/retrieve. Luxury!
● Every day is a new view, so turning round. A continuous adventure
● Extra crew can run, cycle or walk along the canal towpath.
● Tidal/river flow dependent; calculate correctly for the benefit.
● You’ll transit the Dalmuir Drop-Lock (unique in Europe)
● Weather dependent on the rivers; the canal is more sheltered.
● Eating and drinking en-route is very good, if you plan well.
● Chatting to surprised locals at lock-gates along the way (“Whit? Ye’re rowin’ that wee
thing frae Helensburgh tae Dunbar? Ye must be bloody mental.”
Useful​ ​info:
a) Scottish Canals Skippers Guide (detailed, read VERY carefully)
b) Tidal Flow charts for Clyde + Forth rivers, copied from a friendly sailor.
c) Tide tables.
d) Nautical charts for Clyde & Forth
e) www.john muirway.org for a nice map.
You’ll​ ​need:–
Flashlights, bearing-compass, mobiles, VHF, horn, 5 paddles, a simple cox’s loudhailer, plus
the usual skiff safety-stuff, flexibility & good humour.
More info from Kenny Maule (maule320@gmail.com, 01368 860 852)

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