The Falkirk Wheel is set to reveal its engineering secrets, with the first-ever public tour of the iconic structure’s internal workings.
Until now, visitors have only been able to imagine the engineering magic hidden behind The Wheel’s curved steel and soaring arches, but canal custodians Scottish Canals today announced a unique opportunity to take a tour inside the world’s only rotating boat lift in February.
Since its opening in 2002, The Falkirk Wheel has become one of Scotland’s busiest tourist attractions, attracting visitors from all over the world keen to marvel at the working sculpture. The Wheel combines modern engineering and technology with ancient principles set out by Archimedes more than 2000 years ago to link the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal, 35 metres (115 feet) above.
Richard Millar, director of infrastructure at Scottish Canals, said: ‘We’re excited to offer this exclusive tour of The Falkirk Wheel, which has never been done before. The whole experience will be absolutely unique – The Wheel is the world’s only rotating boat lift, and it’s an incredible example of how design and technology can combine with art and sculpture to create a practical solution to an engineering challenge.
‘The design solution integral to The Falkirk Wheel is so elegant; lifting boats 35 metre into the air in just a matter of minutes. Setting foot inside the structure is like nothing else on the planet – from the hum of the generators to the eerie silence of central spindle, it’s a magical experience.’
He added: ‘Whether you’re curious by nature or a keen engineering buff, this is a fantastic opportunity to be one of only a handful of people to step inside the heart of this remarkable moving sculpture and see its revolutionary engineering first-hand.’
Just a small number of people will have the chance to step inside The Wheel on 23 February, with those fortunate enough to secure a place on the tours enjoying an in-depth discussion of The Wheel’s design, mechanics and engineering, before exploring the structure itself.
The tour will explore the internal workings of the colossal engineering icon, with visitors climbing through the heart of The Wheel, into the hum and thrum of its engine room, the eerie silence and shadows of its central spindle, and emerging onto the upper aqueduct for spectacular views of the Ochil Hills in the distance.
Scottish Canals is also offering a less-specialised guided engineering tour on 23 and 24 February so those with an interest in The Wheel, and how it works, can discover more. These tours will include access to external areas not open to the public, with a walk to the end of the 110 metre aqueduct, then over the 150-metre-long Roughcastle Tunnel – presenting an exclusive opportunity for an almost bird’s eye view of the sculpture.
Tickets for both tours are now on sale, and can be booked at www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk.