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As I have mentioned a few times, my parents are in the midst of a trip to Scotland.  During the trip, my parents have been acting as “roving reporters”.   Today’s post is an Aer Lingus Business Class review IAD-DUB, from Washington Dulles airport to Dublin.  For previous posts in the series, see

Today’s post talks about the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland; an marvel of modern engineering located near the central Scottish town of Falkirk.

Background on the Falkirk Wheel

The Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal are two canals that are part of the waterway that connects Glasgow and Edinburgh, 2 of Scotland’s major cities.  These 2 canals had not been linked since the 1930s, when it took 11 locks and the best part of a day to cross between the 2 canals.

In the late 1990s, they decided to build the Falkirk Wheel to go between the 2 canals, and it opened in 2002.  The Falkirk Wheel raises the boats by 24 meters but boats must still go an additional 11 meters to get to the level of the Union Canal – so they go through an additional 2 locks after going through the Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland

Our first day here, we visited Falkirk, which is an engineering miracle. It connects two waterways which are over 100 feet apart in height. Normally it would take 11 locks to connect these so ships could go through. David took pictures at another set of locks and found that it took about 12 minutes per lock. It was one way traffic, so a set of boats would go one way for a few hours, then the process would be repeated for ships going the other way.

The Falkirk wheel, which operates mostly by gravity (I think I read that it takes the energy of a steam kettle), can move boats both ways in 5 minutes. So what would take hours to move boats one way, then the other is way shortened. It looks like claws at the ends.

Featured image by Sean Kirk courtesy of CC BY 2.5

3 reasons to visit the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland - a world engineering marvel that lifts boats 79 feet in the water

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