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The Falkirk Wheel
To be honest, this isn't my kind of "attraction" and I arrived here by accident, but when I saw the Wheel in action I was glad I came.
The Falkirk Wheel was completed in 2002 and opened by Her Majesty the Queen.
It's an exceptional feat of engineering, the only rotating boat lift in the world, and it connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.
I can now understand why it was
voted one of the top seven waterway structures in the UK. It's unique in the sense it can carry eight or more boats at a time, scooping them out of the water and depositing them up or down on the waterway between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The Falkirk Wheel connects Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal, replacing 11 locks across central Scotland, that were abandoned in the 1930's.
Apparently there was much discussion as to whether this was necessary, but the Falkirk Wheel is now a tourist attraction which has had a huge impact on the area. It’s success may lead to other developments around the newly renovated canals in the Falkirk area.
The Visitor Centre, fully accessible, with disabled car parking provided, offers a magnificent viewpoint from which to see the Wheel in action, has a cafeteria and gift shop, and there is no charge for entrance.
There is also a boat tour with audio and video support. A trip takes about an hour and provides an unforgettable day out for all the family.
Tickets for Boat Trips can be booked in the Centre, although it is recommended that you pre-book on 08700 500208. In addition to the boat trips, interactive exhibitions in the centre allow visitors to learn more about the rotating boat lift and the canals, and the kids can have a great time in the Irn Bru Fun Factory.
The Wheel is situated in the Tamfourhill area of Falkirk, and served by two railway stations, both a short distance away, although most visitors travel by road, with every approach well signposted from the M8 and M876 motorways.
It was named after the nearby town of Falkirk in central Scotland, a modern town, easily accessible from both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Falkirk has excellent shopping centres, and the High Street is pedestrian only.
Other attractions in the area include the remnants of the Antonine wall, built between the Firth of Forth and the Clyde to form the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. Falkirk's history has seen contributions by William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and John Logie Baird.
When darkness falls, the illuminations help enhance the Falkirk Wheel's stature as the third most popular visitor attraction in Scotland, behind only the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and Edinburgh Castle.
I have to admit I enjoyed this day out.
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