The Glenkens Canal

The Glenkens Canal

On June 26th 1802 Royal Assent was given to legislation with the title of: 'An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the Boat Pool of Dalry, in the Glenkenns, to the port and town of Kirkcudbright, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright.' There were 28 subscribers to the scheme who formed a company called "The Company of Proprietors of the Glenkenns Canal Navigation". The Act entitled them to raise money by selling 300 shares at £100 each, with the option to raise a further £15,000, if necessary. The renowned engineer John Rennie surveyed the route and estimated it would cost about £33,382.

The idea behind the canal was that it would make it easier to transport goods into the interior of the county, and it was probably hoped that it would enrich the estates through which it would run. At that time most roads in the area were little better than pack-horse tracks, and a way of carrying items in bulk would have been very popular. Some of the things that they proposed to transport were: coal, lime, sand, stone, lime-stone, manure, grain, potatoes, slate, iron-stone, iron and timber, as well as general goods and wares. Goods would be charged at 3d or 6d per ton per mile on the canal, and half that amount on the river and loch

The canal was supposed to run parallel to the river Dee from Kirkcudbright, entering the river again just south of Glenlochar, with 14 locks and a stop lock and weir where it entered the river at Glenlochar. It would then travel through Loch Ken to New Galloway, beyond which a further 3 miles of canal would take it to Dalry, making it almost 26 miles in total. It was suggested that to begin with the canal should only run as far as Loch Ken, to be extended when further funds were found, but the end it was never built at all.