Thursday, October 19, 2017

Missed The Boat

The Falkirk Wheel
All the rest of narrowboat crew had previously done a tour in the Scottish Canals and experienced the Falkirk Wheel. Feeling left out of this adventure and touring the area anyway, we decided to visit and do the “Tourist thing” and take a boat tour of the wheel.

The Falkirk Wheel in a rotating counter-balanced wheel that lifts boats between the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal. It lifts (Or drops) the boats 29 meters from one canal to the other. This now allows boats to go easily between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and right across Scotland. Originally
The aqueduct to the wheel
this was accomplished by a series of staircase locks, but when the canals were neglected in the 60’s, a housing development was plunked onto the locks, so they could not be restored. Instead this engineering marvel was built to revitalize the canal system and the depressed economy of the Falkirk area. The wheel is very efficient, using the less than a few tea kettles of energy (A quote from the guide) and losing less that a mug of water. The old locks used millions of gallons water and lots of human energy.

Coming down again
Basically a boat enters a cradle at the top or bottom which is then sealed. The wheel revolves swinging the cradle and the boat (Or two if possible, or, we were told 13 canoes) around 29 meters to the opposite canal. Unfortunately they were unable to completely bridge the distance between the two canal systems so on either end you still have to work your way through a few old fashioned locks.

I'd rather be driving the boat
We took a tourist boat tour, which was excellent and gave all this information about the wheel that I can write about, but I missed my boat . . . . It would have been much better to do it in a narrowboat. I tried to tell the tour operator I was trained by Bill Towndrow, but that seemed to have little sway, and they would not let me drive the boat . . . I missed the boat . . .

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