Alex - The Falkirk Wheel

On Sunday I went to visit The Falkirk Wheel. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotary transporter between two canals which are at different height levels. One canal is connected to the Glasgow canal and another one is connected to the Edinburgh canal. Both of the canals were used historically to transport coal by canal boats in the Age of Steam.

In the past there were water gates (locks) on the canal which was used to elevate cargo boats at different water levels, however, the efficiency levels were low. The locks were then changed into one mechanical transfer device which can rapidly elevate the boats at two different water levels by direct rotation. This modern elevator is driven by only a little energy; it equals to 12 pots of boiling water and the weight of the elevator is the sum of 120 elephants. The two-side weights are well balanced by gears which ensures the machine runs successfully.

The machine is designed as a windmill, and there are two water channels which make two boats float simultaneously on the upside and the downside. The machine then rotates slowly around the central shaft and finishes the lifting. As well as The Falkirk Wheel, there is a park which contains some old canal devices, such as a suspension bridge, cargo wharf and a tourist centre. Visitors can see many of the old machines and cherish the memory of how the canals used to operate.