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New Wonder of the Waterways

The Falkirk Wheel

The amazing new Falkirk Wheel, officially opened by the Queen on the 24th May 2002, is part of the 78 million Millennium Link project to restore the Forth & Clyde and the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals. The Falkirk Wheel is 115 feet (35 metres) high - the equivalent height of eight double decker buses - 115 feet (35 metres) wide and 100 feet (30 metres) long. The wheel (with its aqueduct, new canal link, basin and associated works) cost 17 million. When the canal was built in the 19th Century it had a flight of locks at this point. These were later demolished and the site covered by housing, making restoration of the canal to its original form impossible. The wheel is the modern engineers' answer to the problem.

The Photographs

Hazel Phillips has kindly supplied all the photographs on this page. They are from slightly larger versions on her website http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/hphillips/ which also has pictures of the London Eye, Cornwall and Fountains Abbey as well as other photographs.

Left: The basin at the bottom of the wheel, showing how the aqueduct at the higher level connects with the top tank of the lift.

Right: This shows the lift in action. The top tank, with a boat visible inside, has started its journey down while the bottom tank is being moved up.

Left: The tank, in which we can see two boats, is almost to the bottom of the lift and is about to descend to the lower water level.

Right: This shot gives us a closer view of the tank holding the water and the boat. We can also see some of the mechanism that keeps the tank horizontal as the structure rotates.

Left: A side view of the tank gives a better idea of the length of these tanks than the end on veiws which inevitably foreshorten the image.

Right: A cruiser is moored at the end of the embankment just before the start of the aqueduct that takes craft to the top of the lift. Compare this with the photograph at the top of the page which shows the embankment and aqueduct from below.

Left: A closer look at the aqueduct and the tank at the top of the lift. The boats are waiting for the watertight barriers to be opened so they can move from the tank onto the aqueduct.

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List