THE first wave of boats are taking to the water as Stirling’s new pontoon launches from the heart of the city.

Both recreational and commercial boat operators can now book online via the Council website ( to gain access to the River Forth.

The new Shore Road pontoon is aiming to make the River Forth a key feature for the city again for the first time since the 1940s.

The pontoon landing stage is 30 metres long, with an additional five metre section for rowing boats and kayaks.

The state-of-the-art pontoon and access walkway rise and fall with the tide and is designed to be wheelchair compliant.

The site was in such a previous state of disrepair that it had been closed off from public access and the new work was carried out in conjunction with the restoration of the Old Harbour Wall.

Convenor of the Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson said: “This pontoon is an important step in bringing about the rejuvenation of the River Forth and integrating it back into the city again as a key asset.

“Up until the 1940s, ships were a common sight tied to the docks along Shore Road, but the river has been an untapped resource… until now.

“We want to show that Stirling is far more than just our historic castle and this development will make it a massive draw for residents and tourists by offering river trips and creating an alternative gateway into the city for leisure vessels visiting us by river.”

Vice Convenor Cllr Danny Gibson said: “We are bringing the River Forth back into the heart of the city’s life.

“So many cities around the world make their rivers a focal point for tourists so this pontoon is about making the River Forth a significant natural and cultural asset again.

“This will hugely enhance tourists’ experience of Stirling by providing a new way to enjoy the wealth of historical sites and natural beauty of the area from the river.

“We want access to the river to be the first step for the creation of a River Park through the heart of the city, so this is just the start of the transformation and making the most of our waterfront.”

The £270,000 project cost was met with £153,000 awarded through the Coastal Community Fund and the remainder from the Council Capital allocation.

The Coastal Communities Fund is funded with income from the Crown Estate’s marine assets and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the UK Government and the Scottish Government.

City Development Framework consultations in 2015 identified that Stirling’s relationship with the River Forth could be significantly enhanced to add considerable value to Stirling for residents and visitors alike.