SCOTS across the country could soon be swapping cul-de-sacs and cottages for waterways and wide-beam barges with the launch of new residential moorings on the network of canals.

Scottish Canals has opened four new moorings in West Dunbartonshire's Bowling, the gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal, as part of the second phase of the Living on Water initiative which seeks to create vibrant houseboat communities on Scottish waterways.

Inspired by similar schemes in Scandinavia, Holland and England, Living on Water was originally piloted in 2012 with the introduction of sites at Glasgow's Speirs Wharf, Leamington Wharf in Edinburgh and Muirtown Wharf in Inverness.

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The success of these full-time moorings inspired the expansion of the project and the introduction of eight new locations, as well as additional moorings at the original pilot sites.

These new locations mean that more than 70 families could soon be living a life less ordinary on the water of Scotland's canals.

Katie Hughes, Director of Estates at Scottish Canals, said: "Living on Water offers an alternative to traditional accommodation.

"It encourages residents to live a greener, more relaxed and individual way of life.

"Also, it can be significantly cheaper when compared to living inland - something which, in the current economic climate, has real appeal.

We want to create houseboat communities around the canal network and encourage more people to live, work and play on and along the waterways.

"Since the launch of phase one in September 2012, we have had a fantastic response, not just from leisure boat owners choosing to begin living on-board, but from those completely new to living on the water.

"From professionals looking for affordable city centre living, to retirees searching for a tranquil spot to settle down, we have ensured there is something for everyone."