Linlithgow to Falkirk, 19Km
Once again, there was quite a lot to see along the John Muir Way today. After a brief riverside walk I reached the Union Canal which opened in 1842 to bring coal from Falkirk to Edinburgh. Soon I was walking over the impressive Avon Aqueduct, 250m long and 26m high, supported by 12 arches. Later I came to Callendar House which looked a little out of place in Scotland but had nice grounds for children.
A short diversion followed, to the Falkirk Caffe Nero. I was recently promoted to VIP customer of this chain and received a coupon for a free cappuccino so I only had to pay for the apricot Danish.
The Union Canal continues through Falkirk until it meets the Forth & Clyde canal, 35m below. For 150 years this gap was bridged by 11 locks but these have now been replaced by an engineering wonder of the modern age: the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s first and only rotating boat lift. Archimedes would understand it. It’s all perfectly balanced and each rotation takes four minutes and consumes just 1.5 kWh of electricity, even with 8 boats in 60 tons of water per gondola. That’s like boiling a kettle of water.
Here’s a speeded up video so you can see the whole rotation in 29 seconds.