Boats, book groups and brilliant days out

Last weekend, the coronation took place in the UK, but there was only one queen as far as the Weegie Beegies were concerned…

(She’s even got her crown on, as you can see in the picture above.)

The Weegie Beegies is the jokey name for the book group I have belonged to for the past twenty years. The name, for those of you unfamiliar with Scottish patter, comes from the informal term for a Glaswegian—weegie—and beegie plays on the book group initials.

Last year, discussions were held about a celebration event marking the 20-year anniversary, and a boat/barge trip was mooted, but did not happen for various reasons.

Navvies Barge

We finally got round to it on 6 May, the date close to one member’s birthday, and what a memorable afternoon it was. If you’re looking for something different to do in Glasgow, I can’t recommend a trip on the Navvies’ Barge highly enough.

The canal boat is located on the Glasgow section of the Forth and Clyde Canal and offers boat trips for up to 12 people (our party consisted of eight) and involves a peaceful two and a half hour meander along the canal.

The 35-mile long Forth and Clyde Canal is a fascinating piece of Scottish history. It crosses central Scotland from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde, and opened in 1790, the first canal in Scotland and the largest engineering project at the time.

Transporting good and passengers

It allowed seagoing vessels to travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow and facilitated the transport of goods and passengers across the country. When the railways and roads came in, its use declined and it was closed to traffic in the 1960s, reopening in 2001 thanks to funding from the Millennium Commission and is now managed by Scottish Canals.

The name of the boat is in tribute to the navvies—the manual workers who undertook the brutal work of building canals and railways and died in their thousands because railway engineers like Brunel resisted any efforts to provide workers with adequate sanitation or safe working conditions.

Profits generated from Navvies’ Barge are reinvested or used to support charitable causes and community engagement with the barge and the canal.

The bespoke book-themed cake was made by the very talented daughter of one of our group.

We brought our own food and booze. It rained for first half of the journey and the sun came out for the second, allowing us all to sit out on the back.

Reader, a lot of Prosecco was consumed. There was a sing-along too. Those Gen Zs jogging or dog-walking on the tow paths might have been tempted to film us and upload the result onto TikTok, captioning the clip Why Middle-Aged Women Should Not Be Allowed Within a Mile of Wine…

All in all, it was a brilliant afternoon out.

PS – if I’ve tickled your tastebuds for Scottish life, I have a series of romcoms set in the Scottish Highlands and available on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes and Noble et al…


5 thoughts on “Boats, book groups and brilliant days out

  1. What a wonderful looking coat for a birthday.
    I will have to remember what weegies beegies means!
    I don’t think I’ve ever been on a canal boat. They probably exist in places like Melbourne but not in Brisbane or Darwin where I spent my formative years.

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