We are currently updating our website, this will include a change to the trips we have on offer. Please get in touch for further information.

Navvies' Barge

About Us

The home mooring for Navvies' Barge is at Applecross Basin, just 20 minutes walk from Glasgow City Centre. This is where our cafe will be based and where our boat trips will set out from, unless otherwise arranged. The canal meanders out of Glasgow and blends seamlessly into the countryside, where the peacefulness and tranquility of the canal are far removed from the harsh conditions that the "Navvies" who dug the canals were subjected to. We chose to name our business, in part, after these individuals who grafted for 20 years to see the canal completed.

Navvies' Barge also found its name as a "hats off" to the way we have chosen to run our business; a workers cooperative. This means that decisions about how the business is run are taken equally by the workers and the business is owned by its workers. We have taken the decision that profits generated from the business will be reinvested or used to support charitable causes and community engagement with Navvies' Barge and the canal. We hope to bring a new wave of vibrancy to the canal and share our passion for a life on the water with others.


We are currently in the busy process of turning the canal boat into a cafe which is a complicated process to say the least! The boat has been rewired and a new oven recently fitted. It's been a long and arduous task that has at times addled our brains, from confusions about 12v electrics to the power usage of appliances and how to generate enough electricity whilst on the move. The acronym of boat, 'Break Out Another Thousand' has never felt so real! The fruits of our labour are all starting to pay off now though, as piece by piece, the inner workings of the boat are prepared and adapted to service as a cafe. The arrival of our coffee machine and grinder spelt a tantalising move from a mere plan to a reality as the layout of the kitchen really started to take shape. The kitchen renovation has given us the opportunity to work with a fantastic organisation Glasgow Wood Recycling, a Social Enterprise working with reclaimed wood to create beautiful furniture.

An exciting aspect of preparing the cafe is looking at how we are going to furnish the boat. As we have busily explored furniture shops, charity shops and car boot sales for potential treasures, the strength of our Workers Cooperative has certainly been challenged, "I like that chair, that would be great" says one, "I don't like its legs" says another, "My bum doesn't fit in it" complains another. It's safe to say, due diligence is being applied to ensure the cafe will be cosy, homely and welcoming.

Listen and watch out for when our cafe will be opening and come and say hello.

Community use

We hope to use the boat for community groups thus creating a space for meetings and/or activities. The boat will provide a unique place for discussion, activities or craft groups. We also believe that using the boat on trips could become a meaningful way to unwind and talk thus becoming a fantastic resource for charities and services working in the area. This is an aspect of the business we intend to develop in the future when time is in richer supply. Please get in touch if you have any ideas about how you could work with us and we can discuss how we can help and support each other.

Having fallen in love with the beauty and peacefulness of the Forth and Clyde Canal ourselves, we wanted to share this with others. We hope to see you in the future and welcome you onto Navvies' Barge.