"Absolutely fascinating piece of human ingenuity" Falkirk by kathymof

Falkirk Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 99 photos

The boat lift to beat all boat lifts

The Falkirk Wheel is a revolving boat lift - apparently the only one in the world. It is very much worth a visit if you are near Stirling. It is a true feat of engineering and human ingenuity. It was done as a millenium project and now connects the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal - thus restoring a very traditional means of transport in interior Scotland. What is especially nice is it takes only a few minutes to raise a boat with the lift where it would take almost a full day to use the locks that were used in the past.

The wheel replaces 11 locks. It is so perfectly balanced that it takes only 16 watts of energy (I think this is what we were told) to turn the wheel. The lift closes around the boats that have entered and essentially creates a big "bathtub". The water that is displaced by the boat allows the weight of both sides to equalize - it uses two counterbalanced "bathtubs".

You can take a ride on a canal boat that is lifted by the wheel. Then you go on a short ride on the canal - you get to go through a tunnel. It is great fun for all ages. And a real plus is that it is simply beautiful and graceful - I could stand there and just watch it forever.

Be sure to check out the Falkirk Wheel website at
http://www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk/ - follow the links as there is lots to learn about this wonder of the modern world.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wonderful - go see it and enjoy!
  • Cons:none
  • In a nutshell:Engineering elegance and beauty at its best
  • Last visit to Falkirk: Apr 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (3)

  • Leester's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    We are definitely going to hire a narrow boat and experience this wonder of engineering in person. Thanks for the tip!

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2006 at 11:34 AM

    How fun. We must schedule a boat ride. Thank you.

  • zizkov's Profile Photo
    Aug 31, 2005 at 4:40 AM

    Congratulations on great pics again - especially the top one - a view I haven't seen (must go on boat sometime).


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