Video of rotating boat wheel

200801021106Scotland's Falkirk wheel is a $34.8 million engineering marvel. It's a rotating elevator for boats, and is fun to watch in action. Link


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. #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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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