Engineering Design Innovation

A new attraction is almost ready for launch right next to Falkirk’s famous Kelpies.


The Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail celebrates some of Scotland’s finest engineering innovations and tells the story of the world’s first practical steamboat. It also showcases the achievements of her creator, the inventor and engineer William Symington – now recognised worldwide as one of the great Scottish engineering pioneers alongside James Watt and William Murdoch.


Our interpretation designs bring Symington’s story to life. In addition to advising on panel locations, making it easy for visitors to navigate their way along the canalside trail, Eden’s work involved branding, image research and development of the concept and definition of the trail. We designed, illustrated and specified each of the large format graphics panels and lecterns along the route together with new wayfinding signage. We additionally illustrated the new diagrammatic representation of the Charlotte Dundas that is now on display at the meeting point of the canal and the River Carron.


The completed work charts two hundred years of history and explains how Symington’s innovative approach to steam navigation went on to transform global shipping and in so doing helped to shape the world we know today.


The trail extends from the Kelpies Basin in Helix Park along the Queen Elizabeth II Canal, the new section of waterway which connects the Forth & Clyde Canal to The River Carron at Lock 1. Fittingly this is just west of the location of the Grangemouth Boatyard where The Charlotte Dundas was constructed in 1803. A rope walk path continues onwards to Dalgrain Road.



The story of the boatyard and some of the other notable vessels that were constructed there is explained as part of the trail only a stones throw from where they were built. A number of panels additionally explain the important role played by both the Forth & Clyde Canal and by Grangemouth Old Town and New Town in the industrialisation of the Scottish economy.



Our panel designs additionally showcase the wealth of bird and animal life that can be found in and around the route of the Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail. A number of rare and unique species can be found both within and along the banks of the canal and the River Carron, on the adjacent mudflats, and within the adjacent RSPB Nature Reserve at Skinflats.



The design and delivery of the Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail has been possible only following years of fundraising and preparatory work by members of registered Scottish charity Friends Of Charlotte Dundas. The resulting project has required consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including Scottish Canals, The Helix and Falkirk Community Trust together with other local groups and adjoining land owners. We are particularly grateful to Ian Scott and the Falkirk Local History Society for invaluable historical input and guidance, and to local artist Tom Robinson for his generosity and support.


The Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail is nearing completion and is scheduled for formal launch in mid-July.


We’d love to hear what you think of the trail and of the amazing stories of the individuals who played a part in this important period in the history of steam navigation and our industrial heritage.


Please get in touch if you have any questions. If you like what you see you can find more of our exhibition and display work here.

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