Unlike the Kelvin Aqueduct, the Falkirk Wheel is an engineering achievement of whose existence I have know for years [although in July ’12 I would be surprised to find out that the Wheel was only 10 year old]. But it never occurred to me I would ever go to see it.
Nevertheless, when I learned my first two working weeks would be Mon-Wed only, I began to ponder what was near enough to travel to instead of only discovering Glasgow during the two long weekends. Apparently, you can’t get reasonably quickly to Loch Katrine and/or Ben Venue except by car; Dundee seemed too far to me at the time; I like Stirling, but not enough to go there (rather than to some new place) after just one year, and so forth. Falkirk was near enough, the fare cheap enough (the rail fare – after twenty-one years I’d travel by a UK train!), and I recollected there was the Wheel.
In fact, it didn’t operate when we got there (maintenance), but seeing it with one’s own eyes gives one an impression of how big it is even when it stands still. In fact, I liked the path by the canal which led us to the Wheel in the melancholy autumn weather even more (not just because it reminded me of one of my last autumn’s laptop wallpapers), and the same goes for the following ramble to the Rough Castle Fort and back, but so much the better.
Wikipedia proved quite useful this time as well. The night before the travel I had a quick look at the Falkirk article to see if it named other places of interest. I had known about the Faw Kirk, but this was the first time I’ve ever noticed any mention of the Falkirk Steeple and the Callendar House and Park. We intentionally went to the Steeple first, by chance noticed the Faw Kirk when passing it on our way to the Wheel, and finished our trip by visiting the Callendar House. Another museum that I initially hadn’t been sure I wanted to spend time in, but at the end of the day was quite glad I had. Pity there was only the lady in the kitchen doing the 19th century “costumed interpretation”, not a guy in the printing shop, but luckily I only learned later there might have been one, so I just took fair pleasure out of seeing the workshop itself…
(First published on Blogger in November ’11.)