Falkirk – Kelpies and the Wheel

Sunday June 16, 2016

What a fantastic day out and a great tour guide. Although Andrew hasn’t had a car in 18 months, he drove his daughter’s car very well. He made us laugh about the electronic start and “no key”. Shelley was the expert on starting the car and the electronics. She became “Lady Shelley” for the day as I had to open the back door of the car, because we couldn’t work out how to release the child lock.

Our first stop was at the Kelpies, legendary sea creatures who would lure sailors to them and then drown them. These fantastic sculptures, were created as part of a millennial project on a lovely area of the Union Canal.

It was quite a nice walk to the Kelpies and back to the car.  We stopped to take photos of a Scottish orchid, a wonderful log with amazing textures and a willow centaur.

As we walked back to the car, the heavens opened, we managed to take cover and we waited until the rain passed before getting back to the car.

We then went to the Falkirk Wheel.

Information Board

I loved this place. Absolutely amazing engineering to lift narrow boats from one canal to the upper levels of the other canal. What would have taken 11 locks and half a days work, takes about 15 minutes in a bathtub. Absolutely amazing to watch this magnificent piece of engineering.

Shelley was getting hungry, so we left her to get something to eat in the café and Andrew and I walked to the top of the “lift” and along the towpath for a while. Then we went into the woods to see the remains of a roman wall. Lovely in the woods, although you could still hear the highway.

From there we headed to Linlithgow – the birth place of Mary Queen of Scots and her royal palace. We walked around the small loch, which was very pretty and peaceful.

Mary Queen of Scots

Andrew talked about growing up here and his parents. If you were born in Linlithgow you were referred to as a black bitch and very proudly held that title. The story goes that a man was “imprisoned” on one of the small islands on the loch. His dog would take food over to him so that he would survive. It was discovered that the dog was doing this and the dog was then secured on the other small island so that she could no longer provide for her master. The dog was a little black bitch.

We finished up at the palace and Andrew went to get the car while Shelley and I had a little wander around, the palace needs a bit of work, but could be a nice place if you had a roof and windows.

Our final stop was Queensferry where there are now three bridges. I say now, when Ralf and I crossed into the Kingdom of Fife five years ago there were only two bridges. The rail bridge and the road bridge. They built a new “motorway” bridge. The old road bridge is only used for public transit, taxis, pedestrians and bicycles.

We went back to Andrew’s place and prepared supper.  Andrew was expecting a warmshowers guest. She was cycling Lands End to John O’Groats. Andrew helped her with her route – she was cycling big miles every day.  When Ralf and I left Edinburgh on our Grand Adventure it took us 5 days to get to John O’Groats, she was hoping to do it in 3 days (about 160 kms per day).

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4 Responses to Falkirk – Kelpies and the Wheel

  1. Ralf Winter says:

    Some wonderful shots once again, that Falkirk wheel wow that’s amazing technology. Lots of walking 😉 Love you, see you soon.

    • Winter-Rides says:

      I have a video of the Falkirk Wheel, it’s a bit blurry but it was amazing to watch. I walked Shelley’s feet of today ! She survived

  2. Luke says:

    I am so glad you got to the Kelpies and Falkirk wheel. I thought the Kelpies referred to ponies that were adapted to gather Kelp , fearless of waves ( and only their heads were visible when working as in the sculptures) and later on, they were trained to pull barges along tow paths at the canals. There are even remains of stone water troughs for them in some places.

    • Winter-Rides says:

      Andrew, our Scottish host, told us the myth behind the Kelpies. Although I thought they were more seal like than horse like. I like your version as well.

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