By Mark Frauenfelder at 11:08 am Wed, Jan 2, 2008
I’ve piloted a 65′ narrow boat through the Falkirk wheel – it’s pretty awesome when standing on the deck of a boat as it’s lifted 5 stories into the air to see the Scottish countryside spread out before you.
What are the big flaring swishy concrete things? Counterweights to minimize weight imbalances?
Personally I think they must be a joke by the designer, because the thing turns so slow.
That’s a simply beautiful thing.
The Anderton boat lift in Cheshire isn’t as swoopy looking, but it does the same job. And it was built more than 130 years ago. Interestingly, there is more boat traffic on British canals now than at the height of their industrial use, due to the advent of tourism.
“Concerning Hobbits” was an interesting music choice for the second video.
The Falkirk Wheel is also featured on one of the new (bridge-themed) Bank of Scotland banknotes: Specimen note. (BOS is one of three issuing banks in Scotland.)
I’ve never actually seen it “in the flesh” or even a video of it before, despite living nearish, so thanks for that.
I have heard that the cafe does good jacket potatoes though./full of useless information
35 million? Haven’t these people ever heard of the flume? Sheesh!
I love this contraption and for years have considered a vacation to Scotland primarily to see it.
#2: It’s moving 600 tons of water and boats, and what it’s moving is, well, liquid/floating. You’d best believe it moves slowly–and it’s still faster than filling and draining regular locks.
Ok, that was a pretty cool lift lock, but really any bets if it will still be in use in 25 years? The Peterborough Ontario lift locks officially opened in 1904, and remain in full use today. Neat video of of the lock here. More info on wikipedia.
It’s a magic thing: I got to visit it while it was under construction, and the most striking visual effect is the canal that appears to end in mid-air, when you approach it from above. Great visionary tech.
I took a detour to see the Wheel on the way home from Edinburgh a couple of years ago, and it’s actually more astounding in the steel than it looks in pictures. It’s huge. What makes it more impressive for me is that it is that rare thing, a capital project that solves a specific problem in a unique way. These are remarkably rare in the UK these days – there even seems to be a factory that builds arced suspension bridges for crossing canals that have become residential areas. One can only hope that it will still be working in a hundred years time like the Anderton boat lift is, as it will be a reminder that we could still occasionally create engineering marvels in a time when it seemed that the art was moribund.
This is much more impressive. Be sure to watch the whole video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rmklGExZwM
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