The Falkirk Wheel – The only rotating boat lift in the world in Falkirk

The Wheel is a rotating boat lift in central Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s. It opened in 2002 as part of the Millennium Link project.

The Falkirk Wheel. Over 1000 people were employed in the construction of the wheel, which has been designed to last for at least 120 years / Image:

The wheel raises boats by 24 meters, but the Union Canal is still 11 meters higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, and one of two working boat lifts in the United Kingdom, the other being the Anderton Boat Lift.

Inspirations for the design include a double-headed Celtic axe, the propeller of a ship and the ribcage of a whale. The architect Tony Kettle described the Wheel as “a beautiful, organic flowing thing, like the spine of a fish,” and the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland described it as “a form of contemporary sculpture.”

View of the aqueduct and top of the wheel / Image:

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