The Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel

Sunday dawned, still with blue skies over Glasgow. It can’t be true that it always rains in Glasgow!  We walked up to Glasgow Green where the start for the Freshnlo Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh cycle ride was located.  The dulcet tones of a lone Piper greeted us (and the cyclists) but sadly not to Mr L’s taste!  We watched some of the cyclists set off, said hello to Glasgow  Green’s Floral Clyde who is still in residence and wandered up to the Winter Gardens behind the People’s Palace for coffee and a bacon roll for Mr L.

Coffee time with Clyde

Coffee time with Clyde

Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green

Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green

We walked up through Glasgow Green where a ‘Serious’ stage is currently being erected ready for next Saturday’s Proms concert on Glasgow Green, before heading back to fetch the car and drive out to Falkirk to visit The Kelpies.

Although the Kelpies arrived in 2013, the Visitor Centre is yet to be completed – it is due to open in 2015. The Kelpies rise 30 metres above the Forth and Clyde Canal and pay tribute to Scotland’s working horse heritage on the canals from years gone by. Each Kelpie weighs in at 300 tonnes, they are truly impressive and I suspect stunning at night when they are lit up.

The Kelpies

The Kelpies

Mr L was reluctantly persuaded to go on a 40 minute canal boat trip on the Forth and Clyde canal, up around The Kelpies and through a couple of locks.  Very enjoyable even if we were the only couple not accompanied by children!

Canal boat on Forth & Clyde Canal

Canal boat on Forth & Clyde Canal

However, the trip did give Mr L time to ponder some of life’s deep and meaningful questions – such as, is sea level the same on the west coast as on the east?, how is sea level measured, is it low tide or high tide?  The answer to the latter is it is the median tide calculated from measurements taken between 1915-1921 somewhere in Cornwall……so probably not accurate nowadays if sea levels have risen because of melted icebergs!!  This then caused Mr L to state at dinner that hills must therefore be smaller as sea level is higher and therefore height above sea level is less…….Mrs L’s response was that unless the foothills of a hill are under the sea the hill is still the same height as ever it was……..

Moving on from deep thought, Mr L was then intrigued to find out what the Falkirk Wheel is so we followed the heritage signs and finally found it.  The Falkirk Wheel opened in 2002 having taken 2 years to build.  It is an amazing structure linking the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal and is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.

The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel

The Wheel raises boats by 24 metres from the Forth and Clyde Canal but the Union Canal is still 11 metres higher than the aqueduct which meets the canal so boats have to go through a pair of locks to get from the top of the Wheel to the Union Canal.  You can take a day trip from the Forth and Clyde Canal via the Wheel onto the Union Canal along to Linlithgow – something to do next time.

My chauffeur then took us out to Braehead which is on the Clyde and is now mainly a huge retail park.  However, there is still a working BAE dry dock on the opposite side of the river – a rare sight nowadays on the Clyde.

Dinner followed a good walk up the side of the Clyde to where the SECC is at Finnieston Quay. We ate at The Rotunda, another excellent Italian meal.

The Rotunda

The Rotunda

The Rotunda is the north one of two rotundas, the south Rotunda not surprisingly being on the other side of the Clyde!  They are the Glasgow Harbour Tunnel Rotundas built in 1890-96 to cover 24 metre deep shafts to the vehicle and pedestrian tunnels under the Clyde.  The Rotundas contained the hydraulic lifts to haul people, horses and carts, and later vehicles up and down from the tunnels.  The pedestrian tunnel closed in 1980 and the 2 vehicle tunnels were filled in 1986.

The walk back was along the Clyde with the many bridges artistically lit which gave me the opportunity to play with slow speed settings on the camera, using the railings as a tripod. I have some neat photos which make some of the bridges look somewhat more elaborately lit than the reality!  Who said the camera never lies……

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