Thursday, 22 April 2010

Falkirk Wheel

Captains Log Canal Date 22nd April 2010 Travels 700 Miles ish 4 Locks Falkirk Wheel Current Location Dimmingsdale OS Ref SO 883 88 We spent the last few days on the Union Canal travelling from Falkirk to Edinburgh and back. The Falkirk wheel is a must see must do thing for anyone with the slightest interest in canals or engineering. It is totally amazing. The 330 miles there was broken by an overnight stop over which gave us an easy mornings drive to Falkirk the Wheel. The visitor centre alone is worth the trip but just the sight of the massive construction of the Wheel is just mind blowing. After taking over the hire boat we navigated through the Swing Bridge and lock we waited our turn to enter the Falkirk Wheel. We were soon called into our place alongside a trip boat and our journey began. It was cold and windy but still dry, unusually cold for the time of year. As we set off towards our first nights stop at Lilithgow the weather turner even colder and windier. It was a pleasant relief to go inside to the warmth of the central heating. Of course we set our priorities and once moored and sorted we set off on the hunt for food. We asked a local chap for his recommendation and he pointed us toward a hotel at the end of the town. He certainly knew his pubs, we were made extremely welcome and the food was superb, not just good for the price but good at any price. Next morning saw an unusually early start for us; we were moving by 7.15 the weather had deteriorated over night, it was not just cold; it was bloody cold, even by the Scottish level of cold. Still we continued towards Edinburgh. The bad weather soon gave way to even worse weather. This time it was driving rain, gale force winds and plummeting temperatures. 2 hours on the back was enough for anyone. It was a good job there were plenty of us to take out turn. We arrived at the quay in Edinburgh town centre at 3.00. Although it was cold, wet and very windy the female contingent still wanted to find the shops for a touch of retail therapy. My self and Glyn declined and remained onboard in the warm and dry. When the girls returned we went to a local Italian restaurant. The food was OK but a little pricy for us, however it was only 20 yards from the boat so very handy. Next morning the girls had not had enough shopping so off they went again! We eventually set of on our return trip at 10.00 and sailed to Lilithgow again. This time there was no rain and the temperature had risen to just above bloody cold and hovered around just cold. We did of course return to the same hotel and was not disappointed. Lilithgow is a delightful town with exception architecture, a delight to walk through. (Even better as both times the shops were shut!) We set off even earlier the next morning 6.45 for our final run back to the wheel. This time the sun was out, still cold but much more pleasant. The Union Canal from Falkirk to Edinburgh is not the best canal for scenery, much of it is urban. I expected to see dramatic mountain scenery but it was mainly flat except for the quarry tips here and there. Much of the architecture is at best appalling. One questions the intellect and intelligence of the architects and planners in that area! The final 330 miles back were much longer than the trip up! I don’t know why but it did seem to go on for ever. We did in fact have a good run with very little traffic problems, it is somewhat deflating when you have been travelling for 3 hour and know that you still have 150 miles to go.

No comments: