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The Ratho Branch is the original branch of the Seagull Trust and it was here that the first cruise for disabled people took place in 1979. Ratho Branch is located beside the Union Canal, just west of Edinburgh, and located near to the Bridge Inn.
We leave Ratho in the morning between 10.30am and 12 noon and return at approximately 2.30pm. Departures to suit you. In the afternoons we leave at 3.00pm, returning between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.
A short one way, one and a half hour cruise is available from Ratho to Almondell Aquaduct between 10.30am and 11.30am. Please note: you must arrange transport pickup at the Almondell Aquaduct.
A trip is then available at 1.00pm from Almondell Aquaduct back to Ratho. Please note: you must arrange transport pickup at Ratho.
At weekends we can offer flexible departures and return times. You choose how long you want to cruise. Minimum cruise time is one and a half hours.
Parking Take the Baird Road, alongside the Bridge Inn car park. Follow our signs and go down the slope to our parking area beside the boats. Please do NOT park in the Bridge Inn car park.
The Rev. Hugh Mackay, who was the main 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 first Seagull Trust canal boat “St. John Crusader”, was presented to the Trust by the Order of St. John and in 1979, her first year of operation, she carried 470 passengers. Now over 13,500 people a year come to enjoy the pleasures of canal cruising from the Seagull Trust Cruises Reception Centre at Ratho.
The second boat owned and operated by the Ratho Branch was the Janet Telford, a slightly smaller boat built for the Branch by the students at Telford College. After operating successfully for several years she was replaced by the Mackay Seagull.
In 1996, The Order of St. John generously provided a new boat to replace the St John Crusader, the St. John Crusader II. Each year the Order gives substantial financial support towards the running costs of the Branch. They, along with assistance from others in 2011, enabled the branch to launch a third boat, the St John Edinburgh.
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