Wednesday 16th April
I had been looking forward to today since my beloved announced yesterday, over a glass of falling over juice, that she had booked us on a boat on the Falkirk Wheel. As some of the readers of my blog will already know, my other passion is Boats, not of the sailing variety but primarily of the Inland Waterways variety, Narrowboats, Widebeams, Barges and even Coastal style barges, with that of course comes the various canals and rivers that such craft can be ‘cruised’ upon both in the UK and Europe. It is fair to say that had we not been fulltiming in a Motorhome we ‘would’ have been fulltime Liveaboards on a boat and that ‘dream’ remains on my ‘Bucket List’ for another day ! In the many Waterways Magazines that I have read there have been numerous articles on unique structures that can carry boats up and down from one waterway to another, the ‘Anderton Lift Bridge’ is one and the ‘Falkirk Wheel’ is another, but there are many more around Europe. However, I never imagined that I would get to go on one of these without owning a boat so yes, I am as excited as a young boy about to lose his virginity !!
As usual we were in no rush, our boat trip was booked for 12:30pm so we had our usual relaxed cuppa in bed before getting showered and dressed, even so, we were in ‘Wuxly’ and leaving the campsite by 10:00am. Falkirk was only 24 miles away and apart from the last 6 miles it was all motorway so we arrived quite early but managed to change our trip time to an earlier boat. The Falkirk Wheel is the only fully ‘rotating’ boat lift in the ‘World’ and it carries boats 86 feet, from the ‘Forth & Clyde’ Canal to the ‘Union Canal’ or vice versa. I was quite surprised to find out that ‘Privately Owned’ boats can use the lift at absolutely no charge !!
Okay, the above photographs give you a basic visual image of how it works, basically two ‘Bath Tubs’ full of water, they are counterbalanced, when one is at the top the other is at the bottom and when they are half way up or down they are both half way up or down !! So let’s go and take a ride on a boat !!
There are the usual array of shops and kiosks on site, the ‘Visitor Centre’ with all the usual related ‘Tourist Tat’, Cafeteria, Ice Creams, Burgers and also a nice green space with picnic benches which is where we sat to eat the picnic lunch we had brought with us. There are a few walking opportunities as well, you could climb up the hill and walk along the Union Canal or down some steps to the Forth & Clyde Canal.
We did not come equipped for walking but I couldn’t be this close to Narrowboatas and not take a few photographs !!
I know it may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but this day out, for us, was far better than walking around Glasgow City centre shops, museums and art galleries !!