The Rev. Hugh Mackay, who was the Founder of the Seagull Trust, was looking for somewhere to cruise that preferably had a canal boat infrastructure in place. He found this at the Edinburgh Canal Centre in Ratho which had already started a canal boat restaurant operation some five years before. They were only too pleased to assist the fledgling Seagull Trust. The Ratho Branch is, therefore, the original branch of the Seagull Trust and it was here that the first cruise for disabled people took place in 1979.
The Highland Branch of the Seagull Trust is based in Inverness and operates the Highland Seagull on the Caledonian Canal, cruising down the Canal towards Loch Ness. The passengers come from the Inverness area and all over the Highlands of Scotland from Aberdeen to Wick.
From Townhead in the centre of Kirkintilloch turn into Southbank Road and follow it until you come to the newly constructed Southbank Marina. Located inside the marina buildings is a lounge area with toilet facilities which are available for passengers to wait in comfort before or after their cruise. The boats leave from the pontoon on the right of the marina as shown in the adjacent picture.
The Centre was designed and built to incorporate all of the Seagull Trusts needs and it was opened in 1992. It has a lounge for guests and two spacious toilets equipped for people with special needs. The Centre is on two levels - on the car park level there is an entrance foyer, the furnished lounge with full height windows overlooking the dockside where guests can relax before boarding one of the Seagull boats; it also has a fully equipped kitchen.