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Falkirk wheel

Grand Opening, Boat Show 2004

Almost 100 years ago, a series of 11 locks was used to connect the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. This was due to the height difference between the two canals, some 150 feet. These locks took boat owners a full eight hours to get through. Today it takes just five minutes.

Cog and arm

You can take a boat trip from the visitor's centre into the bottom gondola and enjoy the engineering wonder of the Falkirk Wheel lifting you 115 feet to the top of the wheel.

The trip continues along the aqueduct towards Roughcastle Tunnel which had to be constructed as part of the Falkirk Wheel Project to preserve the ruins of the Antonine Wall and carry the canal under the main road. At the far end of the tunnel, the boat turns around and follows the same route back to the visitor's centre. The trip lasts around 40 - 45 minutes.

Here are a couple of snaps of a happy customer.



When the boat enters the gondola, four sensors at the corners of the gondola detect the presence of the boat and cut off power to the gondola. The captain in charge of the boat inserts a key into the console on the gondola which passes control to the control tower and the control tower takes over, monitoring everything on closed circuit tv. Apparently it only takes 1.5kW of electricity to power the wheel.


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