Ike and the Falkirk Wheel

Ike is staying with Geography Cat’s friend Jane, and she’s been taking him out and about to see some might impressive sites. After marvelling at the Kelpies, Jane and Ike cycled along the Forth Canal to see the Falkirk Wheel. Just before they arrived Ike was interested to see the narrow boats.

The visitor centre at the Falkirk Wheel was still closed due to the pandemic, but there was still plenty to see. Ike and Jane walked to the top of the hill and looked down at the Wheel to get an idea of the scale of it.

The Falkirk Wheel links the Union Canal to the south, with the Forth and Clyde Canal to the north.

Base map: ArcGIS Esri

The Wheel is a rotating boat lift. Construction began in 1998 and it was opened in 2002 as part of the Millennium Link Project which used National Lottery money to regenerate both canals. The canals had previously been connected by a ladder of 11 locks which climbed the 34 metre height difference from the Forth & Clyde to the Union Canal. The locks were dismantled in 1933 after the canals had fallen out of use. The Wheel and Millennium Link Project cost £84.5m. There are other boat lifts in the world, but the Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating one. You can see it in action here:

Needless to say, Ike was suitably impressed! The track along the Forth and Clyde Canal follows the Roman Antonine Wall, Ike will be reporting from there in his next post.

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